The German Ministry of Defence abruptly canceled plans to introduce a fleet of five Northrop Grumman RQ-4E Euro Hawk UAVs for high-altitude Sigint collection. The first aircraft, delivered in July 2011, was already flying on development tasks from Manching airbase near Munich. According to German media reports, the country has already spent €508 million of the planned €1.2 billion (in 2012 prices) to acquire the fleet, which was intended to replace aging Atlantic manned twin turboprops.
Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) and Northrop Grumman said the MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance aircraft completed its first flight from the company’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility on May 22. The Global Hawk maritime derivative flew for 80 minutes in restricted airspace and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense (MoD) as a cost-cutting measure will not buy four production models of the RQ-4E Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system as planned. The MoD’s decision to stop the program after acquiring one demonstrator aircraft was disclosed earlier this week. During a parliamentary debate, Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said of the decision: “We prefer to pull the plug.
The Obama administration has proposed a $526.6 billion defense budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that continues funding for developmental priorities, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46A tanker and a future long-range bomber. The President’s base defense budget does not include funding for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and does not reflect budget cuts mandated by sequestration.
Northrop Grumman and EADS Cassidian conducted the first signals intelligence (Sigint) sensor test flight of the Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) on January 11. The aircraft flew for more than six hours and climbed to 54,000 feet in military-controlled airspace before returning to Manching Air Base in Germany, north of Munich. Bernhard Gerwert, Cassidian CEO, said the payload “showed excellent performance within the perfect interplay of the overall system.”
The U.S. has made a formal offer to Korea of four Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 UAVs, in a package valued at $1.2 billion. The notification to Congress states, “The Republic of Korea needs this intelligence and surveillance capability to assume primary responsibility for intelligence-gathering from the U.S.-led Combined Forces Command in 2015.” The U.S. Air Force currently flies the high-altitude mission over and around the Korean peninsula using three Lockheed Martin U-2s based at Osan Airbase.
Bombardier Aerospace recently delivered a Global 6000 to the U.S. Air Force, the fourth Global-series aircraft added to the existing USAF inventory with E-11A military designation. The Air Force plans to equip this new addition with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, in time for deployment next summer. This system will allow battlefield communications systems to share data.
Still stunned by the Pentagon’s scrapping of the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk Block 30 program, Northrop Grumman said here at the show yesterday that it’s too early to determine whether the decision will impact the cost of other Pentagon UAV programs based on the big-winged jet. The Block 20 Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), the Block 40 Multi-Platform Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) and the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) programs were all unaffected by the decision.
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