Procurement: Germany Buys Global Hawk

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February8, 2007: Germany is buying five American RQ-4A Global Hawk UAVs, for $112 million each. The UAVs will replace the German Atlantic 1150 Electronic Reconnaissance (ELINT) aircraft. Four years ago, a RQ-4A was equipped with electronic eavesdropping equipment and flown to Germany for demonstration flights. The Germans were impressed enough to design modifications for the Global Hawk, which will turn it into what they are calling Eurohawk. This UAV can stay in the air for up to 36 hours at a time and would be cheaper to operate than a manned recon aircraft. Germany's Atlantic 1150 aircraft will be retired by 2008, mainly because they are too old and expensive to maintain. The EuroHawk will use electronics supplied by European manufacturers. The U.S. Air Force is currently paying $130 million each for Global Hawks, with recon equipment included. Germany will be getting the B version, which is larger (wingspan is 15 feet larger, at 131 feet, and it's four feet longer at 48 feet) than the A model, and can carry an additional two tons of equipment. To support that, there's a new generator that produces 150 percent more electrical power. The first three RQ-4Bs enter service last year. At 13 tons, the Global Hawk is the size of a commuter airliner (like the Embraer ERJ 145), but costs more than three times as much.

 


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