The German Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a €430m contract to Euro Hawk for the development, test and support of the Euro Hawk unmanned signals intelligence (SIGINT) surveillance and reconnaissance system. Euro Hawk is a joint venture company formed by EADS and Northrop Grumman.
The Euro Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is a Northrop Grumman-produced US Air Force RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk derivative equipped with a new SIGINT mission system developed by EADS.
The SIGINT system is said to provide a stand-off capability to detect electronic intelligence (ELINT) radar emitters and communications intelligence (COMINT) emitters. EADS will also provide the ground stations that will receive and analyse data from Euro Hawk as part of an integrated system solution for the German customer.
Delivery of the first demonstrator is scheduled for 2010. Planned delivery of the following four UAVs is scheduled between 2011 and 2014. The Euro Hawk systems will replace the aging fleet of Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which have been in service since 1972.
According to EADS, Euro Hawk is controlled by ground-based operators and is capable of up to 30 hours of uninterrupted flight. This unmanned aerial vehicle has a maximum takeoff weight of about 14 tonnes and can reach a speed 555km/h. It is roughly 14m long and has a wingspan of about 40m. It is a HALE UAV (High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and will operate at altitudes of up to 20km.