EADS and Northrop Grumman yesterday welcomed the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) establishing the base conditions for US/German government cooperation concerning interoperability of the Global Hawk and Euro Hawk systems.
The German Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defense signed the MoU on the 16th of May in Berlin. According to EADS, the government-to-government MoU is a critical step towards the Euro Hawk risk reduction contract, which is expected in autumn of this year.
The Euro Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), derived from the Northrop Grumman-produced US Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk will be equipped with a new signal intelligence mission system developed by EADS. With a larger wing span than an Airbus A320 and a target total airborne endurance of 30 hours, the Euro Hawk is said to be the platform that best meets the Luftwaffe’s requirement for a high altitude, long endurance (HALE) signal intelligence (SIGINT) system.
“The Global Hawk ELINT demonstration conducted in 2003 at Nordholz was a critical collaborative effort that established a great deal of confidence in the Euro Hawk concept,” said Scott J. Seymour, President of Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector.
The demonstrator system delivery is scheduled for 2010, with contract approval for series production and initial operational capability expected in 2009. This schedule would ensure a 2010 replacement timeframe for the ageing fleet of SIGINT equipped Breguet Atlantiques still in service.
Northrop Grumman and EADS have established a 50-50 joint venture company tailored to the programme’s requirements. This new company, named EuroHawk GmbH, is based in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and acts as the national prime contractor for the German MoD through the entire lifecycle of the Euro Hawk system.