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Flight plan issues thwart Euro Hawk's move to Germany

Northrop Grumman has delayed plans to fly a test version of Germany's Euro Hawk unmanned air vehicle to EADS's Manching site, near Munich, early this week, attributing its decision to issues over agreeing a flight plan with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Developed from the US Air Force's RQ-4 Global Hawk by Northrop and EADS company Cassidian for the electronic intelligence role, the Euro Hawk was due to touch down at Manching on the morning of 19 July, following a transatlantic ferry flight.

© Northrop Grumman

Northrop said it has been forced to delay the Euro Hawk's planned departure from Edwards AFB in California "due to mission plan routing issues with the FAA".

It added that "due to forecasted poor weather conditions in certain areas of the route in the next few days, a new date cannot be confirmed at this time".

By last month, the aircraft had accumulated almost 100 flight hours while operating from Edwards AFB since mid-2010.

Following its delayed arrival at Manching, it will have its Cassidian-developed mission equipment installed before resuming test activities for the Euro Hawk programme.

Northrop has previously outlined a plan to deliver the first of five Euro Hawk air vehicles to the German air force late this year.

It will then undergo an extensive period of service trials before entering operational use.

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