The pact was called a major step toward the Euro-Hawk R's risk-reduction contract, which Northrop Grumman said Wednesday was expected to be issued sometime this fall.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed in Berlin Tuesday established the basis for U.S-German governmental cooperation on the interoperability of the systems used in the EuroHawk R and in the U.S. Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle from which the EuroHawk is based on.
The EuroHawk R is being developed by Northrop and European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (EADS) under a joint venture that will serve as prime contractor for the German Ministry of Defense.
The aircraft can remain aloft for 30 hours and will be equipped with a signal-intelligence system developed by EADS that will serve the German air force's requirements for a high-altitude, long-endurance intelligence platform. It is equipped with detectors for radar and communications emitters.
"This step is the result of six years of close transatlantic cooperation," said EADS Defense CEO Stefan Zoller. "It is an example of a successful transatlantic partnership which will provide the German Luftwaffe not only with an integrated solution to meet their reconnaissance needs, but also give them the means to control their own intelligence."
Delivery of the EuroHawk is slated for 2010, about the time the Luftwaffe's Breguet Atlantique signal-intelligence aircraft are due to be retired.