Euro Hawk lands in Germany


The first Euro Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle for the German Bundeswehr has landed in Germany. It departed Edwards Air Force Base in California on Thursday and landed at Manching Air Base on Friday.

The Euro Hawk is a high altitude long endurance (HALE) version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk produced by Northrop Grumman. It will carry a new signals intelligence (Sigint) mission system developed by Eads Deutschland GmbH (Cassidian) and integrated in Manching, Germany.
“Today’s arrival of the Euro Hawk on German soil marks a significant step in delivering this highly capable and unique system to the Bundeswehr,” said Nicolas Chamussy, head of UAVs, Cassidian Air Systems, and member of the board of directors, EuroHawk GmbH.
“Our trans-Atlantic partnership with Northrop Grumman has helped the entire team achieve this outstanding milestone, which also reinforces Cassidian’s role as a leader for complex UAS solutions in Europe.”

The Bundeswehr will receive the first Euro Hawk demonstrator in the middle of next year, and another four between 2015 and 2017.
“Soon, the Bundeswehr will be able to independently cover their needs for Sigint data collection and analysis, thus contributing to Nato, European Union and United Nations operations,” said Neset Tukenmez, chief executive officer, EuroHawk GmbH. “Euro Hawk will also serve as a working model for other programmes and countries.”

The Euro Hawk marks several important milestones – it is both the first international version of the RQ-4 and the first HALE Sigint UAS in Europe. Nato’s AGS will follow close behind and mark the second international RQ-4 and the second HALE UAS in Europe.
“As a leader in advanced UAS, Northrop Grumman has the unmatched experience to provide a strong foundation to produce extraordinarily capable and reliable unmanned surveillance systems,” said George Guerra, vice president, HALE Systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

The Euro Hawk has a wingspan larger than most commercial airliners, an endurance of 30 hours and a maximum altitude of more than 60 000 feet. The first phase of the project included the operation of the HALE UAV concept, the mission system integration, and the October 2003 flight demonstration programme at the German Naval Base in Nordholz.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in May 2006, followed by a firm system development contract on Jan 31, 2007. Northrop Grumman and EADS have established the 50-50 joint venture EuroHawk GmbH based in Friedrichshafen in order to pursue the programme.

The first flight took place in June 2010, and tests began at Edwards AFB in December last year. Following successful testing and introduction into German operational service, Northrop Grumman anticipates that subsequent Euro Hawk systems will be delivered between 2016 and 2017.

The Euro Hawk will replace Germany’s Bregeut Atlantique ATL1 twin turboprop signals intelligence aircraft, which have been in service since 1972.