Friday, July 2, 2010
Euro Hawk Unmanned Aircraft Completes Successful First Flight
The Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS), built by Northrop Grumman Corporation and EADS Defence & Security, successfully completed its first flight June 29. The high-flying aircraft took off at approximately 10:32 a.m. PDT from Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility and climbed to 32,000 feet over Palmdale's desert skies before landing nearly two hours later at 12:24 p.m. PDT at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
"The Euro Hawk marks the first international configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAS, and strengthens Northrop Grumman's first trans-Atlantic cooperation with Germany and EADS Defence & Security," said Duke Dufresne, sector vice president and general manager of the Strike and Surveillance Systems Division for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "This is a wonderful start for the Euro Hawk's flight test program, and a great testament to the Northrop Grumman and EADS Defence & Security team who worked diligently to make it happen."
Based on the Block 20 Global Hawk, Euro Hawk will be equipped with a new signals intelligence (SIGINT) mission system developed by EADS Defence & Security, providing standoff capability to detect electronic and communications emitters. A ground station consisting of a mission control and launch and recovery elements will be provided by Northrop Grumman. EADS Defence & Security will also provide a SIGINT ground station, which will receive and analyze the data from Euro Hawk(R) as part of an integrated system solution.
"It is a day of great pride for all the teams involved, as the first Euro Hawk takes to the skies, marking a significant step in this demonstration of well-shared trust and efficiency," said Nicolas Chamussy, senior vice president of Mission Air Systems for EADS Defence & Security.
The German Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded a contract in January 2007 to EuroHawk GmbH for the development, test and support of the Euro Hawk SIGINT surveillance and reconnaissance system. Under this contract, EuroHawk GmbH will also provide aircraft modifications, mission control and launch and recovery ground segments, flight test and logistics support.
"Formed as a 50-50 joint venture company by Northrop Grumman and EADS Defence & Security, EuroHawk GmbH acts as the national prime contractor for the German MoD throughout the lifecycle of the Euro Hawk system," said Neset Tuekenmez, chief executive officer of the EuroHawk GmbH. "This partnership is an excellent example in international relations for both companies, ensuring Euro Hawk is a continued success story in the history of trans-Atlantic cooperation."
With a wingspan larger than a commercial airliner, endurance of 30 hours and a maximum altitude of more than 60,000 feet, Euro Hawk is an interoperable, modular and cost-effective replacement to the aging fleet of manned Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which have been in service since 1972 and will be retired in 2010. Subsequent systems are anticipated for delivery between 2016 and 2017 following successful testing and introduction in German operational service.