Cassidian and Northrop Grumman Corp. achieved a major milestone with the first full system test flight of the EuroHawk®unmanned aircraft system (UAS) equipped with the signals intelligence (SIGINT) advanced sensors for detection of radar and communication emitters.

The EuroHawk® took off from Manching Air Base, Germany and climbed to a ceiling of more than 15,000 m within military controlled airspace, far above and in safe distance from civilian air traffic. After six hours aloft, the aircraft landed safely back at the air base.

“This successful flight demonstrates the EuroHawk® program’s systems integration capabilities and cutting-edge technologies. The Cassidian-developed SIGINT sensor suite, conforming to the German Bundeswehr´s requirements, showed excellent performance within the perfect interplay of the overall system,” said Bernhard Gerwert, chief executive officer of Cassidian. “We therefore are proud to prove with these test flights the new EuroHawk’s mission capability of strategic SIGINT intelligence for the protection and security of the German armed forces.”

“Today’s SIGINT sensor flight marks the start of the critical flight test phase of the EuroHawk®payload for the German Bundeswehr,” said Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems. “EuroHawk® represents many significant firsts for Northrop Grumman. Not only is it our first trans-Atlantic cooperation with Germany and Cassidian, but it is also the first international version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk produced by the company and the first high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) SIGINT UAS in Europe.”

Based on the RQ-4B Global Hawk HALE UAS, the EuroHawk® system includes a ground station consisting of a mission control and launch and recovery elements provided by Northrop Grumman. It is equipped with a new SIGINT mission system developed by Cassidian, providing standoff capability to detect electronic and communications emitters. The SIGINT ground station, which receives and analyzes the data from EuroHawk® as part of an integrated system solution, is also supplied by Cassidian.

“The EuroHawk® success story continues to unfold and will enable Germany to independently conduct round-the-clock surveillance and reconnaissance,” said Neset Tükenmez, chief executive officer for EuroHawk GmbH. “With this first sensor flight, the EuroHawk® effectively demonstrated its system capability for safe operation within German air space.”