General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has appealed to a higher court in Germany in a second attempt to reverse Berlin’s decision to acquire the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron TP unmanned air vehicle.
A lower-level court rejected the US company’s first appeal, and now it will be brought before a higher-level court, which is expected to cause delays to planned deliveries of the UAV.
Sources close to the issue told FlightGlobal the General Atomics appeal is based on the claim that the selection was made without a competition, which caused Germany to overlook its offering of the MQ-9 Reaper under a partnership with RUAG.
In January, Germany announced that based on its experience with the IAI Heron 1, which it had operated in Afghanistan, German chief of defence Gen Volker Wieker had decided to pursue a leasing of the Heron TP system under prime contractor Airbus Defence & Space.
According to Germany, the Heron TP will fill the gap between the Heron 1 system currently in use and the future European medium-altitude, long-endurance development. It will also be capable of carrying weapons.
US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper
US Air Force
At the ILA air show in Berlin in June, General Atomics told FlightGlobal that it considered the Reaper to still be in the running for adoption by Berlin, and showcased an example of the UAV at the show.
At the time, the company said that a contract for the TP was still being negotiated, so General Atomics was using this to its advantage to continue pitching the Reaper to Germany.
It has offered the certifiable Predator B variant to Germany under the “Guardian Eagle” moniker, which is in development and will be production-ready by 2018.