Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a € 430 million ($559
million) contract to EuroHawk GmbH, a joint-venture company
formed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and EADS,
for the development, test and support of the Euro Hawk unmanned
signals intelligence (SIGINT) surveillance and reconnaissance
system. The joint team will conduct integration and flight test
activity in Germany in late 2009. Delivery of the first demonstrator
is scheduled for 2010, with the following four systems scheduled
tentatively between 2011 and 2014.
The Euro Hawk unmanned aerial system will serve as the German
Air Force's high altitude long endurance (HALE) SIGINT system.
It will be based on the current RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk platform,
built by Northrop Grumman. The unmanned aircraft will be equipped
with a new SIGINT mission system developed by EADS and will
be able to maintain mission endurance of up to 30 hours. The
SIGINT system will comprise electronic intelligence (ELINT)
targeting enemy radar emitters and communications intelligence
The EuroHawk Ground segment, to be provided by EADS will receive
and analyze the data from the airborne sensors, process them
on the ground and support expert analysis, and rapid compilation
of an electronic order of battle.
Northrop Grumman established their cooperative effort in August
2000, addressing the German Ministry of Defense requirement
for airborne wide-area surveillance and reconnaissance to replace
the aging fleet of Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which have been
in service since 1972. This move was followed by a bilateral
project agreement between the U.S. Air Force and the German
MoD, signed in October 2001. The first phase of the project
included the operation of the HALE UAV concept, the mission
system integration, culminating in six flight demonstrations
of ELINT equipped Global Hawk, deployed to Nordholz in October
2003. It was the first successful operation of a UAV in the
heavily crowded, tightly controlled European airspace.