Elbit nears $180m Philippines drone deal

Elbit Hermes 900 Starliner Photo: Elbit Systems

The deal includes the supply of Hermes 900, Hermes 450, Skylark 1, and Skylark 3 UAVs.

Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) is nearing a $180 million deal with the Philippines army, sources inform "Globes." Defense sources predict that the deal for supplying various types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Philippines army units would be signed in the coming weeks.

The UAVs involved are large: Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 for long-range missions. These UAVs are capable of flying for many hours. The deal also includes supplying the Philippines army with Skylark 1 and Skylark 3 tactical UAVS designed mainly for use by field units for real time observation and intelligence gathering missions.

All of the UAVs that Elbit Systems will supply to the Philippines will be used for intelligence gathering, patrols, and border defense missions. Furthermore, they will be adapted to homeland and internal security missions for the Philippines, a country of many islands that faces terrorist threats.

Last summer, Philippines media reported another important deal amounting to $160 million between the Philippines army and Elbit Systems involving the supply of Hermes 450 UAVs. Following completion of the deal in recent months, the Philippines decided to enlarge its airborne intelligence deployment for its army and renew the systems it already had, among other things through Hermes 900 UAVs.

Elbit Systems recently began upgrading dozens of M-113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) used by ground forces of the Philippines army, including the installation of gun positions with 12.7-millimeter cannon on some of the APCs and mortar positions on others.

Defense sources said that Elbit Systems' recent agreements with the Philippines were related to plans by the Philippines army to renew its capabilities and weapons. The Philippines does not want to be left behind militarily at a time when Southeast Asian countries are increasing their defense spending, and China is building up its military power.

It is believed that at least some of the UAVs to be supplied to the Philippines in the deal will not be produced in Israel. 18 months ago, Elbit Systems and Indian company Adani Defense and Aerospace opened a joined factory in southern India for production of components for Hermes series UAVs. With the beginning of UAV production in India, Elbit Systems sources said that the company would use this UAV production line to supply its customers all over the world.

Not just the Philippines

It was reported in the past few days that Elbit System was also zeroing in on a giant deal with Germany for the supply of DIRCM systems for protection of A-400 cargo and refueling aircraft. These systems use an infrared ray to divert shoulder-held missiles launched against aircraft.

The US army will soon procure an active protection system (APS) against anti-tank missiles for Bradley APCs. The Iron Fist APS was developed by IMI Systems, acquired six months ago by Elbit Systems.

The US Department of Defense selected this system in recent months for protection of some of the APCs used by US ground forces, placing a $200 million order. RADA Electronics Systems, which will supply the radar used in the systems to be installed on the APCs, will also benefit from this deal.

Ahead of next week's Paris Air Show 2019, Elbit Systems this week unveiled its new Hermes series tactical UAV - the Hermes 45. This lightweight UAV is capable of remaining in the air for 24 hours and carrying payloads amounting to tens of kilograms. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Aeronautics will also display new tactical UAVs at the Paris Air Show designed for a market estimated at $1 billion.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 13, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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Elbit Hermes 900 Starliner Photo: Elbit Systems
Elbit Hermes 900 Starliner Photo: Elbit Systems
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