Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Hawk Has Landed ... in Germany

The Hawk Has Landed ... in Germany: "The first Northrop Grumman Eurohawk, based on the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk, arrived today in Germany. The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAS took off from Edwards AFB, Calif., at around noon yesterday and landed at the military testing facility in Manching at 10:08 this morning after a nonstop transatlantic flight. EADS Cassidian will now install a German signals intelligence payload onto the high-flying unmanned aerial system (UAS) in preparation for delivery to Germany forces in mid-2012.

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This aircraft is a developmental model; there are options for up to four additional aircraft that would be delivered 2015-2017. The prices for these options haven't yet been negotiated.

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Photo: Luftwaffe/Northrop Grumman

This delivery is another step for Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk family of aircraft. The system has been under scrutiny in Washington for years for growing cost and, most recently, for a lackluster testing report.

Despite the criticism, the program continues to have strong backing owing to continued operations supporting troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as missions over Libya, Japan and South America.

A total of five Euro Hawks will replace the German navy's Breguet BR-1150 Atlantic in the signals intelligence role. After the testing phase, they will join the Luftwaffe's Aufklärungsgeschwader (Reconnaissance Squadron) 51 "Immelmann“ in Jagel.

Luftwaffe Euro Hawks will be Germany's contribution to NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) core.

With Nick Fiorenza in Brussels

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