EURO HAWK Unmanned Air System (UAS) was under development by the American concern of Northrop Grumman to fulfill a SIGINT (SIGnals INTelligence) role for the German military. The vehicle was based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk (RQ-4B Block 20 model) product and set to become the first foreign variant of the line which has seen extensive use by American forces since its introduction in 2001. For the Germans, the UAS would have taken on specific mission equipment as related to the ELINT (ELextronic Inelligence) and COMINT (COMmunications Intelligence) roles - however, the program was cancelled in May of 2013 due to growing concerns over achieving civil airspace certification. The EURO HAWK was set to succeed the stock of outgoing Dassault-Breguet Br.1150 Atlantique airborne SIGINT aircraft - the fleet was retired in 2010.
A EURO HAWK prototype was unveiled in October of 2009 and achieved first flight on June 29th, 2010 - though this over American soil. It was delivered to Germany in July of 2011 for further, local evaluation. Due to growing concerns about certification of the vehicle (and applicable costs) the system was abandoned. Before the end, EURO HAWK was able to set several European air records related to unmanned air vehicles during its time aloft - one flight netted the aircraft an endurance record by flying continuously for over 25 hours.
Despite the loss of EURO HAWK, there is renewed in early 2015 of bringing about the similar Northrop Grumman MQ-4C "Triton" UAV (detailed elsewhere on this site) to fulfill the SIGINT role. The vehicle is already being pursued by the United States Navy (USN) and has become a more evolved UAS form of the original Global Hawk with a better chance of achieving certification over civil airspace as it includes such features as icing prevention. Certainly USN endorsement of the product can only help in push the Triton to becoming the next German SIGINT aircraft.
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