GÖTTINGEN, Germany — The German armed forces want to procure three Triton UAVs for signal intelligence, the inspector general of the Bundeswehr decided this week.

The plan is to buy the first Triton in 2025 and the other two the following year. The UAVs will be equipped with Isis, a SIGINT system that was mainly developed by the Airbus spin-off Hensoldt. According to the Ministry of Defence, Isis is capable of locating enemy airborne radar from a high altitude or intercepting enemy communications.

The Bundeswehr will buy the Northrop aircraft directly from the U.S. Navy. In the run-up to the decision, the authorization of the Triton was positively assessed by the newly created Aviation Office of the German Forces. The Euro Hawk drone, originally intended as a carrier platform for Isis, had never received a flight authorization in Germany – a lost investment of several hundred million euros.

.According to a speaker of the MoD, the German Federal Aviation Administration will have access to detailed results and documentation of the previous approval-process of the Triton in the U.S. Furthermore the MoD is convinced that the more modern technical base of the Triton compared to the originally envisaged Euro Hawk also makes an authorization in Germany easier.

As a result of the project break-up in 2013, its efficiency of Isis could not be officially confirmed, the MoD stated. However, the flight data to the system can now be evaluated further and the environment for testing under laboratory conditions has been improved significantly.

The laboratory tests and the final evaluation of the data obtained with the Euro Hawk have thus shown that Isis can be successfully integrated into the Triton. As a speaker of the MoD confirmed, no final flight tests with Isis will take place. According to the manufacturer, the system has already been developed to more than 90 percent, with only the flight tests for the final qualification are missing.

With the procurement of the Tritons, the Bundeswehr wants to close a gap, which has existed since 2010, when the Breguet Atlantic manned aircraft was taken out of service.

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