First sensor-equipped Euro Hawk takes flight
The first full system test flight of the Euro Hawk UAV has been conducted by Northrop Grumman and EADS Deutschland (operating through Cassidian) from Manching Air Base on 11 January. The aircraft was equipped with the signals intelligence (SIGINT) advanced sensors for detection of radar and communication emitters for the eight hour flight.
During the flight the Euro Hawk climbed to a ceiling of 54,000 feet within military controlled airspace before landing safely back at Manching Air Base. The aircraft system had previously completed extensive ground testing at Manching Air Base, receiving final approval from the German Airworthiness Authority to flight test the functionalities of the integrated SIGINT payload.
Based on the RQ-4B Global Hawk HALE UAS, the Euro Hawk system includes a ground station consisting of a mission control and launch and recovery elements provided by Northrop Grumman. It is equipped with a new SIGINT mission system developed by Cassidian, providing standoff capability to detect electronic and communications emitters. The SIGINT ground station receives and analyses the data from Euro Hawk as part of an integrated system solution is also supplied by Cassidian.
Bernhard Gerwert, chief executive officer of Cassidian, said: ‘This successful flight demonstrates the Euro Hawk programme's systems integration capabilities and cutting-edge technologies. The Cassidian-developed SIGINT sensor suite, conforming to the German Bundeswehr's requirements, showed excellent performance within the perfect interplay of the overall system. We therefore are proud to prove with these test flights the new Euro Hawk's mission capability of strategic SIGINT intelligence for the protection and security of the German armed forces.’
Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector, added: ‘Today's SIGINT sensor flight marks the start of the critical flight test phase of the Euro Hawk payload for the German Bundeswehr. Euro Hawk represents many significant firsts for Northrop Grumman. Not only is it our first trans-Atlantic cooperation with Germany and Cassidian, but it is also the first international version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk produced by the company and the first high-altitude, long-endurance [HALE] SIGINT UAS in Europe.’
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