MANCHING, Germany, July 27 (UPI) -- The German Bundeswehr's first Euro Hawk first high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system is now in Germany for systems integration.
The Euro Hawk, made by Northrop Grumman for the Bundeswehr, is based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk and will be used for signals intelligence, with systems developed by EADS Deutschland GmbH (Cassidian).
The aircraft is at Manching Air Base after flying in from California.
"(The) arrival of the Euro Hawk on German soil marks a significant step in delivering this highly capable and unique system to the Bundeswehr," said Nicolas Chamussy, head of UAVs, Cassidian Air Systems, and member of the board of directors, EuroHawk GmbH.
"Our trans-Atlantic partnership with Northrop Grumman has helped the entire team achieve this outstanding milestone, which also reinforces Cassidian's role as a leader for complex UAS solutions in Europe."
Delivery of the first Euro Hawk demonstrator to the Bundeswehr is scheduled for mid-2012, with another four systems scheduled tentatively from 2015-17.
"Soon, the Bundeswehr will be able to independently cover their needs for SIGINT data collection and analysis, thus contributing to NATO, European Union and United Nations operations," said Neset Tukenmez, chief executive officer, EuroHawk GmbH. "Euro Hawk will also serve as a working model for other programs and countries."
The Euro Hawk marks several important milestones. It is both the first international version of the RQ-4 and the first HALE SIGINT UAS in Europe.
NATO's AGS will follow close behind and mark the second international RQ-4 and the second HALE UAS in Europe.
"As a leader in advanced UAS, Northrop Grumman has the unmatched experience to provide a strong foundation to produce extraordinarily capable and reliable unmanned surveillance systems," said George Guerra, vice president, HALE Systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
"Today is a wonderful step toward delivering the Euro Hawk to the German air force, and a great testament to the Northrop Grumman and the EADS Deutschland GmbH (Cassidian) team who worked diligently to make it happen."
With a wingspan larger than most commercial airliners, 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 fleet of manned Breguet Atlantic aircraft, in service since 1972 and retired last year.
EuroHawk GmbH, a 50-50 joint venture of Northrop Grumman and EADS Deutschland GmbH, serves as the national prime contractor for the German Ministry of Defense through the system's lifecycle.