Singapore Adds Hermes 450 UAVs, Stands Up Joint UAV Command
Singapore’s Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean recently officiated at a parade to inaugurate the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Command. UAV Command has been constituted as an integrated entity, with personnel from the Army, Navy & Air Force as well as from the Joint Staff. The new command will provide tactical support for operations, and they are also tasked with developing the armed forces’ capabilities and skills in unmanned systems operations.
The new command will operate Singapore’s 2 squadrons of Searcher II UAVs, which were used successfully during the multi-national Exercise Wallaby 2006. Mr. Teo also announced a new platform for Singapore: Elbit/Silver Arrow’s Hermes 450 UAV, which be designated H-450 in RSAF service. The H-450 has almost twice the endurance of the smaller Searcher IIs, and will be operated by the newly-established 116 Squadron. Given Singapore’s geography, a maritime patrol role is a near-certainty for these mid-range UAVs. Singapore MINDEF: Release | Mr. Teo’s Speech | UAV capsules.
The Hermes 450 is currently operated by Israel, by the UK as its new “Watchkeeper WK450″ system, and by the USA’s Department of Homeland Security Border Patrol. It is also the USA’s Joint UAV Joint Test and Evaluation (JUAV-JT&E) platform.