New 'eye in the sky' ready to be deployed by the SAF

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will now be able to deploy a more advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on missions.

The Hermes 450 (H-450) complements the older Searcher UAV.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the Full Operational Capability (FOC) status of the H-450 at Murai Camp, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said it was a "significant milestone" in the SAF's transformation into a modern and effective fighting force.

"UAVs have now become a critical asset to many military operations and can make a decisive difference to outcomes, both in peacetime operations and battles" said Dr Ng.

Now that the H-450 is fully operational, it is ready to be deployed on missions to assist the SAF.

The H-450 only requires two crew members, while the Searcher needs three.

It will be operated by 116 Squadron (SQN), and was delivered to the SAF in 2007.It was manufactured by Elbit Systems Ltd, an Israel-based defence electronics company.

Lieutenant-Colonel Timothy Ang, commanding officer of the 116 SQN, said the H-450 would be used as an "eye in the sky", providing real-time updates to ground troops and designating targets for fighter aircraft.

The H-450 is also able to operate on autopilot, freeing up the pilots to focus on the mission at hand.

Air Force engineer ME2 Kalaiarasan Moorthy, who had worked on the Searcher UAV previously, said that the Hermes system was more efficient, despite being more complex than the Searcher system.

"It has a built in self-test system, so pre-flight checks can be done in a shorter amount of time, resulting in 40 per cent time savings," he said.

isaacneo@sph.com.sg