Iceland has become the first country in Europe to deploy Elbit Systems‘ Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) maritime patrol services.

Icelandic’s maritime authorities are using the long-range service based at Egilsstaoir Airport in the east of the country to enhance the maritime patrol over the nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

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Deployment of the Hermes 900 at the airport allows it to cover more than half of the Icelandic EEZ.

In November last year, Elbit Systems secured a contract from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to provide maritime UAS patrol services.

The contract contains a two-year base period and two single year option periods.

The company is implementing the contract in cooperation with Portuguese firm CEiiA.

Elbit Systems ISTAR Division general manager Elad Aharonson said: “We are pleased to have been able to commence operation only a few months after the contract was awarded to CEiiA.

“Providing maritime UAS services to European Union authorities is a vote of confidence in the Hermes 900. Extensively deployed, the Hermes 900 family of UAS is continuously extending its capabilities, introducing the capability to operate in civilian airspace and integrating self-protection suites and stronger payloads.”

Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900 unmanned maritime surveillance system is suitable for littoral and blue water operations.

The product offering comprises maritime radar, an electro-optic payload, satellite communication, an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver, and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) receiver.

Hermes 900 can be used to monitor sea and long coastlines. It is also capable of identifying suspicious activities and potential hazards.

The system used by Iceland is designed to withstand the strong winds and icy conditions encountered over the North Atlantic Ocean.