The European variant of the high-altitude, long-endurance Global Hawk has passed its first endurance test, manufacturer Northrop Grumman says, after completing a more than 30h flight in the early days of December.

The Euro Hawk unmanned air vehicle took off on 1 December at 16:47 Pacific Standard Time and landed at 20:59 on 2 December, 30h and 12min later.

"Soaring up to 60,000ft [18,300m], the Euro Hawk performed beautifully and has logged nearly 100 total flight hours since its maiden flight approximately five months ago," says Duke Dufresne, sector vice president and general manager of the strike and surveillance systems division for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "This flight not only demonstrated the aircraft's endurance capability, but it also enabled the team to collect crucial communications data points."

 EuroHawk first flight
© Northrop Grumman

The UAV is currently undergoing testing at Edwards AFB in California, aiming for a spring delivery to Germany, where it will be outfitted with a reconnaissance payload package built by Cassidian, the military division of EADS. It is Northrop's first international version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, based on the Block 20 configuration.

"The aircraft will undergo additional flight testing in Germany before being delivered to the German air force by the end of 2011 to replace the fleet of manned Breguet Atlantic aircraft which went out of service this year," says Nicolas Chamussy, senior vice president of unmanned aerial systems for Cassidian.

Source: Flight International