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Germany may revive Euro Hawk

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posted on Jan, 13 2015 @ 09:11 AM
The German government is looking at reviving the Euro Hawk program, and recouping some of the $750M they've spent to date on the program. The program was originally cancelled due to NATO Stanag 4671, which requires lightning and icing protection on all aircraft flying over Europe. The original RQ-4 that was going to make up the program doesn't have those protections.

The new program would be made up of MQ-4 Triton platforms. The Triton was designed with civil certification involved, so it has all the required protections installed. The platforms that can perform the mission are limited and are down to a modified business jet, and the Triton. The aircraft will be modified to carry two fairings under the wings, one with an ELINT pod, and one with a COMINT pod. And aircraft with engines under the wings would both interfere with the pods, and cause structural problems with the wings. The two pods have to talk to each other, so they can't be split into two platforms.

Germany may turn to the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton to resurrect its Euro Hawk program and claw back some of the almost €600 million ($750 million) invested in the project. The May 2013 cancellation was the result of concerns about the ability of the system to satisfy airworthiness regulations necessary to permit flight in civil airspace. However, another Northrop Grumman Global Hawk derivative—the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton—may enable the German defense ministry to restart the airborne signals intelligence capability, filling a gap left since the German navy’s fleet of five Br.1150 Atlantique aircraft were retired in 2010.

According to Lt. Col. Roland Runge, the Luftwaffe’s unmanned air system (UAS) tactics and air reconnaissance branch head, and the former lead officer on Euro Hawk, a similar platform offers one of only two possible options to deploy the Euro Hawk’s sensor package. With investment in the payload accounting for roughly half of the money spent so far, and an increasing need for ears in the sky to Germany’s east, a compelling case is emerging to get the sensor in the air.

“Around €300 million has gone into the sensor, and it cannot be fully developed or improved without this thing flying,” Runge told the Defense IQ UAS Training and Simulation conference in December.

posted on Jan, 13 2015 @ 10:50 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Interesting. Clearly the Germans want to get their sensor pods up in the air. Limiting themselves to placement of the pod under the wing really limits everything else about the platform. At least they are serious about gathering more sigint.

Does this mean the European long endurance UAS is behind schedule or not expected to be suitable for the German signals pod under the wing? What is so special about that pod for them to go through rather expensive hoops?

posted on Jan, 13 2015 @ 11:37 AM
a reply to: noeltrotsky

The fact that they both have to be on the same platform. The European HALE platform is still years away from even hitting IOC, let alone FOC, while the Triton will hit IOC much faster, and uses a lot of the Global Hawk technology.

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