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WASHINGTON — The coalition behind the Euro Hawk remain “fully committed” to the drone program, despite the German government’s decision to cancel the project.
“EuroHawk GmbH, Northrop Grumman and EADS remain fully committed to the Euro Hawk program of record, and the critical capabilities the system will provide the German armed forces and its allies,” the companies said in a statement released by Northrop this morning.
The Euro Hawk system is a modified version of Northrop’s Global Hawk, with European company EADS acting as the local partner. The German government made the decision to cancel the program May 15 after reportedly concluding the cost of adding an anti-collision system, required for use within Germany, was too expensive to maintain.
Germany has already spent more than €500 million (US $649.1 million) on a prototype, which was delivered in 2011, while another €500 was million earmarked for four additional ISR platforms.
“We have tested this for so long, until we have found out that the thing cannot be configured licensable without immense additional money,” Stéphane Beemelmans, German state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Defense, said when announcing the decision.
Northrop and its partners pushed back at reports about high costs of certification.
“Media reports that indicate there are challenges with the aircraft’s flight control system, as well as excessive costs associated with completing airworthiness certification, are inaccurate,” the companies said in their statement today.
“The full Euro Hawk system, including the mission control system and the sensor, has performed flawlessly and safely throughout the entire flight test program. EuroHawk GmbH will continue to work with the customer to address any concerns they may have with the system; and the team will provide an affordable and achievable plan to complete flight testing of the initial asset and the eventual production and fielding of the full system of four additional aircraft.”