Israel Unveils Airspace-Compliant Big Drone


An Israeli company says its new Bonanza-sized drone can mix it up safely with regular civilian air traffic thanks to a triple redundant detect-and-avoid system to keep out of the way. The StarLiner from Elbit Systems is compliant with NATO’s Standardization Agreement known as STANAG 4671, meaning it is approved for missions where airliners and other civilian aircraft fly, according to Yahoo News. The idea is to push the envelope for large-drone operations to allow them to carry out missions in more developed areas. The possibilities are endless, of course, and several countries have already placed orders.

Based on the 2500-pound Hermes 900, the aircraft can fly for 36 hours as high as 30,000 feet powered by a diesel engine. It has “radar cooperative and non-cooperative Detect and Avoid (DAA) features for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)” and is specifically designed to fly in regular airspace. Although it meets the NATO standard, individual countries will have to approve the sorts of operations envisioned by Elbit.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. “Remotely-piloted” = latency = trouble. The worst of both worlds.
    Old YARSism: “The best implementation of a flawed concept is inherently flawed.”

  2. I don’t necessarily disagree, but quoting yourself? Is that really a supporting argument?

  3. Regardless of whether this drone is remotely piloted or autonomous, the purpose is to spy on ground operations. Its ability to operate in high traffic areas means that it will be used to monitor civilian populations around major cities in developed countries like in Europe and the U.S. Big brother is watching?

  4. Turbo diesel powered equals quiet. Great loiter time. Couldn’t help to notice the phrase ” Bonanza sized” with the drone’s V-tail. Freudian slip? Maybe. Almost the same gross weight as my D-35, too.

    While most are worried about “Big Brother” and being under surveillance, they aren’t going to see much more than all the cameras located all over “developed’ cities globally, Smartmeters, cell phones, traffic cameras, DVD players, smart TV’s, etc reveal… I am looking at that turbo-diesel power plant!

    Let these remotely piloted vehicles fly, a few get bent during the learning curve ( noting the YARism), eventually some wear out, which will offer me the opportunity to obtain a surplus Hermes 900 engine as a replacement for the E-225-8. This could be the dawn of an era of readily aircraft engines similar to the once ubiquitous Lycoming 0-290 ground power unit versions that ended up supplying homebuilts a couple of decades through the early 80’s. Plus the added bonus of running on Jet-A to boot!

    We gotta start thinking about the aviation glass half full rather than half empty. Instead of airplanes built out of drop tanks, add a canopy to the Hermes 900, and voila…instant manned aircraft. Or, if you just don’t feel like flying conventionally, grab the transmitter, throw in a few bags of sand for weight and balance, and remotely fly your “Bonanza sized” airplane from the comfort of your home, lawn chair, or backyard barbecue. Maybe take a couple of aerial photos to see what the neighbors are up to while you sip an adult beverage also. With its “see and avoid” technology, this is the perfect aviation platform/pastime for those living in more urban and suburban areas. No place too crowded for your experimental Hermes 900. So, while Big Brother is watching you, you can enjoy spying on your neighbors or Big Brother. That’s a win-win situation.