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German military unveils super drone

The Local · 12 Oct 2011, 12:22

Published: 12 Oct 2011 12:22 GMT+02:00

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“It’s a milestone for us,” project leader Rüdiger Knöpfel told Die Welt newspaper in Manching, Bavaria, where the drone was presented by the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement.

The Euro Hawk weighs 15 tonnes, has a wingspan of 40 metres, and can fly non-stop for 30 hours, covering a distance of up to 25,000 kilometres – enough to fly from Berlin to Tokyo and back without a break.

The drone will be used for reconnaissance missions in conflict regions like Afghanistan, scanning terrain and spotting enemy positions from a height of up to 20,000 metres – way above the altitude reached by commercial jets. The drone is also able to pick up TV and radio signals and intercept phone calls and text messages.

Knöpfel said the drone would vastly improve the Bundeswehr’s intelligence capabilities. “At the moment we’re deaf when it comes to electronic reconnaissance,” he said.

The data it collects will be transmitted in real time to a base in Nienburg, Lower Saxony, though it is still being tested in Manching. In July, a Euro Hawk prototype successfully completed a 10,000-kilometre test flight from California to Bavaria.

The US armed forces already use a similar super drone called “Global Hawk,” built by the armaments company Northrop Grumman. The Euro Hawk, which took ten years and €1.2 billion to develop, will be built by Cassidian, the military arm of European aeronautics and defence company EADS.

Story continues below…

Eleven Bundeswehr pilots have been trained to steer the Euro Hawk from the ground. Further test flights will take place in Bavaria this week. The drone is expected to fly its first missions next summer.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:21 October 12, 2011 by The-ex-pat
The US armed forces already use a similar super drone called ¦quot;Global Hawk,¦quot; and Germany gets the ¦quot;Euro Hawk¦quot;. Someone saw Germany coming (again). Possible the same person who sold them F104 G's. Anyone remember Captain Lockheed and he Star Fighters...........lol
14:53 October 12, 2011 by DOZ
A plane for Pilots who are afraid of heights.
15:37 October 12, 2011 by catjones
The Afgan government has instituted an opt-out program whereby citizens can have their electronic signals garbled (blurred).
15:38 October 12, 2011 by freechoice
Did they subcontract out to the same company as Global Hawk, which looks strikingly similar. USAF should file a complain with the German courts to stop this from flying, if it violated some patents laws.
16:17 October 12, 2011 by storymann
This flew from California to Bavaria, reads like a lot of shared intel and technology to me.
17:41 October 12, 2011 by melbournite
Just what the world needs, another war plane and another several billion euros down the drain. What we really need is better surveillance of bankers
19:57 October 12, 2011 by Omufu
So, um, how about just buying some Global Hawks from the US and not spending 1.2 Billion on designing something that looks exactly the same and does the same thing?
21:03 October 12, 2011 by Major B
@ Melbournite

Yeah on your comment.

Otherwise, good on the Bundeswher. Now, more helicopters
23:24 October 12, 2011 by pepsionice
Here's the thing....there are thousands of commercial spying opportunities for this vehicle. They can stand off against China and pick up millions of phone calls. Same for Brazil. Same for Florida. The Germans in a decade will have a vast amount of intelligence capability that no one will be able to limit.
00:36 October 13, 2011 by lecturenotes2009
ah, spot on..

new toys to attract new recruits? lol.. to fresh you guys, Maiziere said few weeks ago he is worried with army quitters and very worried with lack of equipment. see:



but, hey, will we sell this (these) new toy(s) again to Saudi? hmm.. 1,2 billion, all tax payers's money..

can someone enlighten me, if Northrop Grumman is a private or government sponsored armaments? if it's private sector, it means, it can sell to any government in the world? wow...
08:45 October 13, 2011 by moistvelvet
Don't want to drone on about the war but it's a vast improvement on the V1 Doodlebug even if it looks the same.
16:50 October 13, 2011 by Celeon
@ Omufu

This IS a Global Hawk. Its a modified RQ-4B series drone with european sensors. (Called RQ-4E) It was specially designed for the Luftwaffe, is a bit longer than the original Global Hawk and also has a slightly wider wingspan. They had to built completely new hangars with wider doors for them.

See that pod hanging under its wing in the photo?

Thats the main visual difference as the u.s Global Hawks dont have those. There are three of them under each wing. They will carry the signal intelligence sensors.

I bet the CIA has a few of these on their wishlist aswell. ;-)
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