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Unmanned Aerial System (Level 3) (Part 1) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force

 The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has selected the Elbit Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial system (MALE UAS) as one of the two UAS models ordered as part of their Unmanned Aerial Systems (Level 3) acquisition project under the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

The Hermes 900 will become the most advanced UAV with the the Armed Forces of the Philippines once it becomes operational, and are expected to start arriving by 2020.

The first two Hermes 900 UAVs of the PAF (other one in the background, tail only shown. Serial numbers 9001 and 9002. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense.

A fully-kitted Hermes 900 UAS demonstrator from Elbit Systems. 

Project Summary:

Unmanned Aerial System (Level 3) Acquisition Project (Part 1) - Hermes 900 MALE UAS

Note: Edited as of 09 September 2020

* End User: Philippine Air Force (300th Air Intelligence & Security Wing)

* Quantity: 3 Hermes 900 systems (9 UAVs and supporting systems)

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:
 Php8,470,000,000.00 (whole project)

Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) between Philippine Department of National Defense and Israel Ministry of Defense

* Source of Funding
GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) process.

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: Elbit Systems Ltd.

* Contract Price: Php8,470,000,000.00 for entire project

* Residual Price: Php0.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 08 August 2017

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag:  #PAFUASAcquisition #PAFHermes900UAS 

* Status: First Hermes 900 UAV delivered September 2019, first complete system of 3 Hermes 900 UAVs completed before November 2019. Two other Hermes 900 systems (6 UAVs) delivered as of August 2020. Delivery of UAVs completed, although minor contract requirements remain, to be completed by 4th quarter 2020. PROJECT COMPLETED.


The PAF will receive a total of three (3) complete Hermes 900 unmanned aerial system, with each system having three (3) Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as ground control systems, support equipment, mission payload, and Integrated Logistics System (ILS) including training, technical support, and other requirement.

Part of the whole package involves Elbit Systems Ltd delivering a Hermes 450 UAS system with four (4) UAVs, which will be arriving earlier in 2019.

A Hermes 900 UAV in Fernando Air Base, Lipa City. Shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a community member.

U P D A T E S:

5 July 2017:

A photo was shared in Pinoy Aviator's Facebook page, which was also shared on MaxDefense's Facebook page wherein an aircraft that appears to be a Hermes 900 UAV was spotted flying somewhere in Luzon. On the same day, MaxDefese received confirmation from a source that there is indeed a Hermes 900, and that it was flying over Batangas as it was being demonstrated by Elbit Systems to the Philippine Air Force, flying from Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas.

A photo of what appears to be an Elbit Systems Hermes 900 UAV over Batangas. Photo taken from Pinoy Aviator's FB page.


08 August 2017:

After getting more information from sources, MaxDefense released its first blog mentioning the acquisition of the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 MALE UAS as part of the planned acquisition of Level 3 UAS in our blog dated 8 August 2017. 

"Philippine Air Force to Procure Elbit's Hermes 900 Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV Under Horizon 2 Phase" - first posted 08 August 2017

The Hermes 900 demonstrator as photographed inside a PAF hangar in Fernando Air Base in Lipa, Batangas in 2017. MaxDefense blurred out the man beside the Hermes 900 UAV for privacy purposes. Photo shared to MaxDefense by a source who prefers to remain anonymous.

13 September 2017:

British defense publication Shephard Media quoted MaxDefense on the impending arrival of Elbit Hermes 900 and 450 UAS for the Philippine Air Force, which MaxDefense also shared in its Facebook page. The article also mentioned about the order for Hermes 450 UAS, and the delivery of the Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System (MITSS) for the Philippine Marine Corps, which uses the Super Swiper II UAV.

The link to Shephard Media's article can be found on the link below:

"MALE UAVs operating in Philippines, more expected"


11 September 2019:

MaxDefense sources have confirmed that if all goes well according to plan and schedule, Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd. may be able to deliver the first batch of Hermes 900 UAVs to the Philippine Air Force before yearend.

This is earlier than the scheduled delivery starting in 2020, although this advance delivery of initial units is still subject to final confirmation by the DND and Philippine Air Force.

It is in the best interest of Elbit Systems if they could delivery earlier, as their progress claims are related to how much percentage have they completed in the project delivery.

No specific quantity was provided on how many will arrive this year, although it is highly possible that it would be, at best, an entire Hermes 900 UAS system composed of three (3) Hermes 900 UAVs and all its supporting ground control equipment, maintenance tools, and sensors package could be coming soon.

The 2 other Hermes 450 UAS will most likely have to wait until late 2020.

An example of a Hermes 900 UAV.


13 September 2019:

Here's a Hermes 900 UAV in Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas. Shared to MaxDefense by a community member.


03 October 2019:

MaxDefense was informed by a source involved in the project that the first two Hermes 900 UAV are expected to arrive sometime between late October and November 2019.

Once these UAVs are delivered, it will form an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) considering each Hermes 900 UAS will consist of 3 Hermes 900 UAVs and other supporting equipment.

It appears that Elbit Systems is on track on their delivery commitments considering that they have already almost completed delivery of the Hermes 450 UAS (1 system ordered), and on track to deliver the first of three systems composed of the larger Hermes 900.

MaxDefense cannot post any photos at the moment but we will do soon.

An Elbit Systems Hermes 900 UAV in Fernando Air Base in Lipa City. Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense by a community member.


28 October 2019:

As posted on our social media community page:

Starting this week or next week, the PAF will start flight tests on two of their newly-delivered Hermes 900 UAVs, which we expect as being assembled as we post this. Vilma Santos' constituents would have the best chance of seeing them flying over their heads.

Photo below for reference only.


02 November 2019:

Finally a solid photo. Philippine Air Force Elbit Systems Hermes 900 UAV. Tail No. 9002 and in PAF livery. The other UAV in the background is another Hermes 900 with Tail No. 9001 also in PAF livery.

These 2 Hermes 900s are part of the first batch delivered a few weeks ago as MaxDefense reported back then.

Both UAVs are assigned with the 3031st Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron of the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing. Both the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 were acquired under the Unmanned Aerial Systems Acquisition Project of the PAF, a Horizon 2 phase Priority Project.

More Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 are slated for delivery until 2021.

Photo shared by a community member who wish to remain anonymous.

The first two Hermes 900 UAVs of the PAF (other one in the background, tail only shown).


27 November 2019:

Elbit Systems' official Facebook page posted photos of Hermes 900 UAVs in the assembly line in Israel. No mention was made on the country where these UAVs are bound for.

But in one of the photos, it shows that one of the UAV has a serial number "9005".

MaxDefense believes that this is one of the UAVs bound for the Philippine Air Force, since the Hermes 900s delivered to them have the serial numbers 9001 and 9002 for the first and second unit, respectively.

This is good news considering Elbit Systems is committed to deliver all 9 Hermes 900 UAVs to the Philippine Air Force by 2021, yet it seems they can do it earlier than that.

Last photo shows the serial number 9005, which is the same lineage as the PAF's Hermes 900s. Photos taken from Elbit System's FB page.


28 November 2019:

MaxDefense received information, which was later confirmed by a source that the 3rd Hermes 900 UAV with serial number 9003 was already delivered to the Philippine Air Force recently by Elbit Systems  and will be assembled soon in preparation for flight tests.

This means Elbit Systems may have already delivered a complete Unmanned Aerial System, which is composed of 3 UAVs, and several associated ground support systems like command posts, etc.


09 September 2020:

MaxDefense received confirmation that the Philippine Air Force received the full delivery of all 9 Hermes 900 UAVs, together with ground control and support equipment comprising 3 unmanned aerial systems, as of August 2020.

Minor contract requirements remain though, and these could be completed by Elbit Systems before year end.

At least one Hermes 900 Unmanned Aerial System with 3 UAVs is said to be partially operational as of this writing, and is expected to be fully operational by next year. Meanwhile, the 2 other Hermes 900 UAS are expected to be partially operational by early next year although flight tests and training continue.

MaxDefense released a blog entry discussing this milestone, with the link provided below:

"Philippine Air Force receives full delivery of Elbit Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 medium altitude long endurance UAVs" - first posted on 09 September 2020.

A Hermes 900 during pre-selection trials in Switzerland. Photo credits to Jane's.


With the Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 Unmanned Aerial Systems already delivered as of August 2020, and formally inducted with the Philippine Air Force as of 2021, MaxDefense and Philippine Defense Resource officially consider the Unmanned Aerial Systems Level 3  Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force as COMPLETED.

x x x x x x x x x x x 

First edit and release: 01 April 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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