On Friday, Northrop Grummanannounced a successful test flight of its new Euro Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, a huge pilotless drone based on the company's successful Global Hawk UAV.
First delivered to Germany's Bundeswehr in July of 2011 , the high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) Euro Hawk is being developed jointly by Northrop and the Cassidian subsidiary of EADS Deutschland GmbH. (EADS is the parent company of Boeing archrival Airbus.)
According to a press release on the flight, Euro Hawk took off from Manching Air Base in Germany, and conducted a six hour, two minute test flight at a cruising altitude of 54,000 feet, beneath its ceiling altitude of 60,000 feet, but above ordinary civilian airspace.
Although Euro Hawk has flown before, this was the first time the drone was flown while equipped with new signal intelligence (SIGINT) equipment for monitoring radar and communications signals. The ultimate goal is for Euro Hawk to evolve into a UAV capable of conducting "independent, round-the-clock surveillance and reconnaissance" for Germany.
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