PARIS: Euro Hawk nearly ready for Germany flight

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Northrop Grumman and Cassidian have confirmed that the Euro Hawk testbed, the German version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, will fly to Germany for payload integration and testing.

The aircraft will be ferried to Germany as soon as July 2011, said Northrop Grumman.

The test aircraft, a modified Block 20 Global Hawk, has flown 10 times from Edwards AFB, the US Air Force's primary testing grounds. The aircraft has accumulated 97h of flight time - including a single 30h flight - and reached altitudes of 60,000ft (18,000m).

 © Northrop Grumman

The next step, according to airframe manufacturer Northrop Grumman and payload manufacturer Cassidian, is to fly the aircraft to Manching, Germany, for payload integration and further testing. Ground equipment, including the mission control element, have already arrived in Germany.

The aircraft will be flown by Northrop Grumman personnel from a USAF terminal in the US before hand-off to the terminal in Germany.

About 30 German troops are posted at Beale AFB in California, where the USAF Global Hawks are based.