Unmanned Vehicles

Euro Hawk sets European flight endurance record

3rd September 2013 - 13:10 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Northrop Grumman’s Euro Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has flown continuously for 25.3 hours in European airspace, setting a new endurance record on 8 August. The aircraft, operated by a Northrop Grumman ISS International and Cassidian team, flew from Manching Air Base, Germany, and climbed to an altitude of 58,600ft.

This new milestone in the Euro Hawk programme follows the UAV’s first flight over the North Sea on 6 June for 6.5hrs, also from Manching Air Base.

Rolf Wirtz, head of Mission Systems, Cassidian's UAS branch, said: ‘This is the longest flight flown in European skies by an unrefuelled UAS in the more than 30,000-pound [14,600-kilogramme] class. The Euro Hawk has performed safely and reliably with good results throughout its entire flight test programme. It is the only system that can meet Germany's requirement for high-altitude signals intelligence surveillance missions.’

Originally under development to replace Germany's retired fleet of manned Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which was in service from 1972-2010, the Euro Hawk programme is currently facing an uncertain future. News emerged in May 2013 that the German government plans to end the programme due to airworthiness and type certification problems. However, in August Tom Vice, Northrop Grumman's president for aerospace systems, expressed the company’s hopes of reviving the programme given recent progress in flight trials.

Janis Pamiljans, sector vice president and general manager of Unmanned Systems, Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems, added: ‘To date, the Euro Hawk has completed 19 flights and approximately 200 flight hours. I commend the entire Euro Hawk customer and industry team on achieving this record-breaking flight. We remain committed to delivering the best technology solution at the most affordable cost to meet Germany's national security interests.’

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