Germany’s ESG Elektroniksystem und Logistik is showing its proposal for a replacement for the nation’s ill-fated Euro Hawk signals intelligence programme at the ILA Berlin air show.

It takes the form of co-operation with Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Systems subsidiary to fit the latter’s AISIS SIGINT suite into a Bombardier Global 5000 business jet.

A model on ESG’s stand shows a Global 5000 with a distinctive, large ‘canoe’ fairing under the forward fuselage, similar to that on the UK Royal Air Force’s Sentinel surveillance aircraft. It also has a satellite communications radome on top of the fuselage, an aerial farm on the lower rear fuselage and two ventral fins under the tail.

The interior shows a six-workstation layout, but Dr Ingo Eickmann, head of aircraft and unmanned air vehicle systems at ESG’s aerosystems division, says that the AISIS system, being modular and with open architecture, is scalable from just two or three to seven or eight operators.

Germany walked away from Euro Hawk (pictured), a modified version of Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk UAV, almost exactly one year ago. It cancelled its planned €1 billion ($1.3 billion) procurement of five aircraft, citing significant barriers to certificating the type for flights in civil airspace.

Trials with an initial Euro Hawk also had revealed problems with the aircraft’s flight control system and Northrop declined to share technical data to enable the German certification authorities to better understand the aircraft, according to Germany’s defence ministry.

Currently there is no formal request for proposals for a replacement for Euro Hawk, with Germany assessing its possible options.

Eickmann says his company’s proposal holds several possible attractions to the German air force.

Firstly, the AISIS system is mature, having been used by the Israeli defence forces for a decade. Secondly, IAI is close to civil certification of a Global 5000 modified with AISIS for a customer that the Israeli firm declines to identify. Talks have taken place with the German airworthiness authorities over obtaining German civil certification for the type, to be followed by a simplified process to convert it to military certification.

Additionally, the Global 5000 is already in service with the German air force as a VIP transport, so trained pilots and support infrastructure are already in place.

IAI would integrate AISIS into the aircraft. ESG would handle the German certification process, integration into German service and in-service support for the mission package, were Germany to choose this platform.

Euro Hawk credit Northrop Grumman

Source: Flight Daily News