Hermes 900 HFE drone crash in Israel: Investigation results on the cause of the crash now available

Bern, 11.05.2021 - Following the crash of a drone of type Hermes 900 HFE intended for the Swiss Armed Forces over Israeli territory, the Israeli Ministry of Transport initiated an investigation to clarify the cause of the accident. The final report is now available. The manufacturer has repaired the damage and will cover all costs.

On 05 August 2020, a drone of the type Hermes 900 HFE intended for Switzerland crashed over Israeli territory.  The cause of the crash was subsequently investigated under the direction of the Israeli Ministry of Transport. Clarification has been completed and the investigation results are available.

Crash was due to unexpectedly strong oscillations

According to the accident report, the crash was due to the fact that the V tail unit became detached from the fuselage of the drone due to unexpectedly strong oscillations. The drone could thus no longer be controlled and crashed.

The manufacturer has repaired the damage and will cover all costs

The Israeli manufacturing company Elbit Systems Ltd was able to eliminate the cause of this problem with regard to further production of the drone, without changing the drone’s design. The damage is to be borne entirely by Elbit Systems Ltd (see notice of 06/08/2020).
The crash occurred on a test flight of the drone. This resulted in total loss of the drone, but no damage to persons or third-party damage. This is a drone which was intended for the Swiss Armed Forces as part of the delivery scope of the ADS15 procurement.

Delivery from the second semester 2022

Reliable detailed scheduling is still difficult. According to current information, the drones will be delivered from the second semester of 2022 to the summer of 2023. Approval of the radar for the sense-and-avoid system is planned for the end of 2024. The current delays are due, on the one hand, to the time and effort required for certification with the Civil Aviation Authority Israel (CAAI), which was underestimated by the supplier, and on the other hand, to the delayed development of the radar system for sense-and-avoid. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted industry and has severely limited cooperation with the supplier due to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Until the approval of the sense-and-avoid radar, the Hermes 900 HFE drone will be deployed in uncontrolled airspace and with an escort aircraft by day.

Address for enquiries

Kaj-Gunnar Sievert
Head of Communications armasuisse
+41 58 464 62 47




General Secretariat DDPS