First sen­sor test flight of Euro Hawk un­manned air­craft suc­cess­fully ac­com­plished


Cas­sid­ian, the de­fence and se­cu­rity di­vi­sion of EADS and Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion, to­gether achieved a ma­jor mile­stone with the first full sys­tem test flight of the Euro Hawk un­manned air­craft sys­tem (UAS) equipped with the sig­nals in­tel­li­gence (SIG­INT) ad­vanced sen­sors for de­tec­tion of radar and com­mu­ni­ca­tion emit­ters.

The Euro Hawk took off from Manch­ing Air Base and climbed a ceil­ing of more than 15,000 me­tres within mil­i­tary con­trolled airspace, far above and in safe dis­tance from civil­ian air traf­fic. Af­ter 6 hours aloft, the air­craft landed safely back at the air­base.

“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,” said Bern­hard Ger­w­ert, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Cas­sid­ian. “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.”

The Euro Hawk sys­tem pre­vi­ously com­pleted ex­ten­sive ground test­ing at Manch­ing Air Base, re­ceiv­ing fi­nal ap­proval to flight test the func­tion­al­i­ties of the in­te­grated SIG­INT pay­load from the Ger­man Air­wor­thi­ness Author­ity.

“To­day’s SIG­INT sen­sor flight marks the start of the crit­i­cal flight test phase of the Euro Hawk pay­load for the Ger­man Bun­deswehr,” said Tom Vice, Cor­po­rate Vice Pres­i­dent and Pres­i­dent of Northrop Grum­man’s Aero­space Sys­tems. “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.”

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, which re­ceives and analy­ses the data from Euro Hawk as part of an in­te­grated sys­tem so­lu­tion, is also sup­plied by Cas­sid­ian.

“The Euro Hawk success story con­tin­ues to un­fold and will en­able Ger­many to in­de­pen­dently con­duct round-the-clock sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance,” said Ne­set Tüken­mez, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer for the Euro Hawk GmbH. “With this first sen­sor flight, the Euro Hawk ef­fec­tively demon­strated its sys­tem ca­pa­bil­ity for safe op­er­a­tion within Ger­man air space.”

With a wing­span larger than most com­mer­cial air­lin­ers, en­durance of more than 30 hours and a max­i­mum al­ti­tude of ap­prox­i­mately 60,000 feet, Euro Hawk is an in­ter­op­er­a­ble, mod­u­lar and cost-ef­fec­tive re­place­ment to the fleet of manned Breguet At­lantic air­craft which was in ser­vice since 1972 and re­tired in 2010.

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