Europe moved a step closer to fielding its first operational high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle on 21 July, when the first Northrop Grumman/Cassidian Air Systems Euro Hawk touched down in Germany.
The Euro Hawk demonstrator landed "on the centreline" at EADS' Manching site, near Munich, at 10:06 local time, following a more than 22h transatlantic journey which had started at Edwards AFB in California.
Both images © EuroHawk
Developed from Northrop's RQ-4 Global Hawk by joint venture company EuroHawk for the signals intelligence role, the new aircraft will replace the German air force's manned Dassault/Breguet Atlantic aircraft, the last of which was retired in 2010.
"Today's arrival of the Euro Hawk on German soil marks a significant step in delivering this highly capable and unique system to the Bundeswehr," Nicolas Chamussy, head of UAVs at Cassidian Air Systems, said.
After being equipped with its European-designed SIGINT mission equipment, the demonstrator will be handed over to the German military for flight testing in mid-2012, the companies said.
This will be followed by "another four systems scheduled tentatively between 2015 and 2017", they added.