After Hours

Eyes in the skies: Drones of today and tomorrow

The Hermes 900 drone can fly as high as 30,000 feet and stay in the air for 36 hours.

Made by Israeli defence firm Elbit Systems, the drone can carry a payload of 350kg and is suited to use with a wide range of sensing and surveillance equipment - from infrared and optical video cameras to radar and laser rangefinders.

The autonomous vehicle is typically used to carry out intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. Elbit says it can mount constant surveillance of specific locations as well as scan large areas.

The system can be linked to two ground data terminals to allow it to carry out two concurrent missions during a single flight.

Photo: Nick Heath/TechRepublic

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.