Northrop Grumman and EADS have completed preliminary compatibility testing of an EADS electronic intelligence (Elint) payload for the US company's RQ-4A Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV).
The two organisations are proposing a Euro Hawk version of the UAV to replace the German Navy's Dassault Atlantic Elint aircraft and serve with other European NATO customers.
The EADS payload is scheduled to be integrated on to Global Hawk in time for several test flights for the German defence ministry at Edwards AFB, California, later this year, followed by further testing in northern Germany no later than next April.
The payload replaces the UAV's electro-optical sensor. Gene Ostermann, prog-ramme manager for the planned German evaluation, says that Northrop Grumman's integrated systems unit at San Diego, California completed the payload integration tests over the summer: "The successful laboratory test series moves us one step closer to integrating the payload on Global Hawk in advance of the flight evaluations."
Similar satisfaction is expressed by Karl-Friedrich Weitzel, EADS Euro Hawk's senior manager.
The initial integration "proves our capability to develop within a very short period of time a new Elint system fulfilling specific requirements for standoff reconnaissance on a high-flying UAV".
Source: Flight Daily News