Ok - the MOD should actually go and buy some of these things...


Book Reviewer
By Simone Meyer
DIE WELT/Worldcrunch
MANCHING -- The plane comes down out of the sky and lands with little noise. The enthusiastic sounds emanating from the people watching the landing at Manching air strip in Bavaria are almost louder than the landing of the 15 ton “bird.” Bird is what staffers at the technical aircraft defense service here almost affectionately call their new hero, the Euro Hawk.
This reconnaissance drone signals a new era for Germany’s Federal Armed Forces -- the debut of the largest unmanned flying object in German airspace.

“It’s a milestone for us,” says Rüdiger Knöpfel, a project manager at the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement, for which this represents nearly 10 years of planning. At 15 meters long, and a wingspan of 40 meters the Euro Hawk by far outstrips other systems of this type.
The “hawk” can fly at speeds up to 600 km per hour, stay airborne for up to 30 hours, and fly 23,000 km -- or as far as New Zealand. It can easily reach Afghanistan, where the German Armed Forces will soon be reducing the number of personnel.

Euro Hawk already passed one important test: on July 21, pilots in Germany and the United States flew it 10,000 km from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Upper Bavaria – and after 24 hours flying time it appeared in the skies over Manching.

The grey drone is a massive data collector. From an altitude of 20,000 meters – which is to say, well above the altitude at which civil aircraft fly – the Euro Hawk can listen in on even the most softly whispered radio message, not to mention cell phone conversations, and intercept text messages. It can also record radio and TV broadcasts and register enemy missiles and radar stations.

Pilots trained in the United States
The captured electromagnetic information can be sent via three different radio links and reach earth in Nienburg, Lower Saxony in real time. The Electronic Warfare Battalion 912 stationed there conducts data analysis. Up to seven telecommunications specialists help the deployed troops to analyze data concerning their own operations and protect against possible threats.

In the pilot phase, the workspace of the analysis unit is housed in a container in a high security tract at Manching air strip. But it’s slated to remain mobile so that it can be transported to wherever it’s needed.
The German Armed Forces have so far trained 11 pilots. Long flying times mean that several have to share a shift. The pilots and weapons systems officers were trained in the United States on the Northrop Grumman-produced Global Hawk, which provided the basic model for the Euro Hawk.
Euro Hawk “9901” arrived in Manching “naked.” Technicians from Cassidian then equipped it with German sensors and intelligence technology.

The Euro Hawk fills a gap. The previous model used by Germany was the NATO Breguet Atlantic that has been out of service for more than a year. Countries routinely exchange reconnaissance information – only for a while now, Germany hasn’t had any to provide.

Euro Hawk is supposed to change that. In the summer of 2012 the plane will be turned over to the “Immelmann” Reconnaissance Squadron 51 in Jagel, Schleswig-Holstein. The first series models should be ready in 2015 at the earliest. Presently, the Euro Hawk – a so-called test carrier – only has a temporary traffic permit and every time it takes off or lands air space has to be cleared.

Both military and civilian Armed Forces staffers treat the Euro Hawk as carefully as they might a raw egg. Visitors to the hawk’s space are even asked to take off their rings before they touch the bird.

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes Global Hawk is a very sexy alluring package. doing SIGINT for the germans and a U2 type role for the yanks and lots of international intreast unfortunaly for us theirs a base cost of $200 million per aircraft and i doubt the MOD are going to find that down the back of the sofa. Plus it does the same things as sentinal and rivet joint and we've just said ones surplus to requirments after the sandbox and the other is 60's desighn the RAF are being rewarded for ditching the nimrod.
Plus were paying BAE a lot of money to come up with UAV/UCAV demonstraters such as Taranis and Mantis.

So yes Global Hawk paired with a reaper like UAV probably would be a nice fit for us to replace and consolidate a lot of our recon / sigint / elint / maritime patrol aircraft with the right mission set unfortunatly theirs no money for it and probably wouldn't be a political will for it anyway as the types in charge wouldn't see past the high start up costs for the long term benefits and savings.
This is the BAE Systems Mantis that the MoD has been funding. Still in the R&D phase and offers nothing that can't be found in Reaper, Global Hawk or other designs already on the market.

Someone has to keep BAE in work....
Why does the boxhead one look ubersexy and radical design and all. and the BaE one looks like an old airframe that has been kicking around in the corner of the workshop.
At least the BAE one has weapon mounts/external fuel tank storage?
because its an old airframe that was kicking around the workshop?
Fair enough, still reckon it will be 3 times the cost of anything else.
More likely because it has props which resonate a certain... olde worlde Red Baronesque charm, no matter what they are fitted to.

The BAe one probably has lots of extras we don't know about.
More likely because it has props which resonate a certain... olde worlde Red Baronesque charm, no matter what they are fitted to.

The BAe one probably has lots of extras we don't know about.
Yeah backhanders and business meetings in far off palm tree friendly places.
the "best of British" doesnt come cheap you know! wait till you see these new carriers, it'll just be two bits of old flyover craned onto a couple of old oil tankers.
Wouldn't be for the first time:

That German model is vaguely reminiscent of the V1.


Book Reviewer
Blast! Beaten to it - I was going to remark that the Germans have a proud tradition in pilotless aircraft.

On a serious note, I infer that EuroHawk is optimised for int gathering, NOT weapon dropping where perhaps another vehicle would be better. Stooging at 20,000 m it is presumably pretty well undetectable and safe from any sort of countermeasures.

The UK version will be monitoring your wheelie bin.
Wouldn't be for the first time:
Merchant Air Craft Carriers...

from the wiki.

Merchant aircraft carriers (MAC) were bulk cargo ships with minimal aircraft handling facilities, used during World War II by Britain and the Netherlands as an interim measure to supplement British and United States-built escort carriers in providing an anti-submarine function for convoys. The original intention had been that they would be an interim measure preceding the wider introduction of escort carriers.
Atlantic Conveyor and Atlantic Causeway did pretty well at air ops too. Causeway had a ad hoc hanger on her bow, and was used to bring a lot of the ahem, aquired aircraft back to UK.

Causeway supported 4,000 heli landings and refueled about 500 aircraft.

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