The Euro Hawk remotely piloted aircraft on Tuesday successfully completed its maiden flight, announced Northrop Grumman. The company is supplying Euro Hawk, together with European industry partner EADS, to the German air force. The high-flying aircraft lifted off from Northrop’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., climbed to 32,000 feet, and flew for nearly two hours before touching down at Edwards AFB, Calif. “This is a wonderful start for the Euro Hawk’s flight test program,” said Duke Dufresne, vice president of Northrop’s Aerospace Systems sector. The Euro Hawk is based on Northrop’s RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 20 airframe that the US Air Force has already bought, and is the first international configuration of the Global Hawk. It will carry a signals intelligence mission system developed by EADS. Euro Hawk will replace Germany’s fleet of aging Breguet Atlantic aircraft.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.