Monday, July 18, 2011

AirForces Monthly 2010-09

MAKING ITS maiden flight from Northrop Grumman's facility at Palmdale, California, on June 29 was the first RQ-4E Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system, 99+01. The UAV has been jointly developed by Northrop Grumman and EADS Defence and Security (EADS D&S) for Germany's Luftwaffe. The aircraft took off at 1 032hrs and climbed to 32,000ft (9,755m) before landing almost two hours later at 1224hrs at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Based on the Block 20 Global Hawk, the Euro Hawk differs in being equipped with a new signals intelligence (SIGINT) mission system developed by EADS D&S. The German Ministry of Defence awarded a contract in January 2007 to the Northrop Grumman-EADS joint venture EuroHawk GmbH for the aircraft's development and the prototype was rolled-out last October (see Euro HawkRoll-Out, December 2009, p8). The type will replace the German Navy's two SIGINT-configured Breguet Atlantics, the last of which was retired on June 20 (see Final German Atlantic Retired, August, pll). After testing at Edwards, in March 2011 the Euro Hawk will joint WTD 61 at Manching, Germany, for payload testing. Service entry with the Luftwaffe's AG51/512 Staffeln at Schleswig-Jagel is scheduled for December 2011 (see Euro Hawk Set to Fly Soon, August, pi 3). A production order for a further four Euro Hawks for AG51 is expected to be placed within the next 12 months.