German Full Scale Demonstrator

Euro Hawk


The German Full Scale Demonstrator, developed and built for the German Ministry of Defence, is the first international derivative of the combat-proven, high-flying RQ-4 Global Hawk HALE UAS. It is also Northrop Grumman's first trans-Atlantic cooperation with Germany and EADS Deutschland GmbH, operating through Cassidian, the defence and security division of EADS.

Based on the BACN Global Hawk, German Full Scale Demonstrator will be equipped with a new signals intelligence (SIGINT) mission system developed by Cassidian, providing standoff capability to detect electronic intelligence (ELINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) emitters.

A ground station consisting of a mission control and launch and recovery elements will be provided by Northrop Grumman. Cassidian will provide a SIGINT ground station, which will receive and analyze the data from German Full Scale Demonstrator as part of an integrated system solution.

With a wingspan larger than a commercial airliner, endurance of more than 30 hours and a maximum altitude of more than 60,000 feet, German Full Scale Demonstrator is an interoperable, modular and cost-effective replacement to the aging fleet of manned Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which have been in service since 1972 and will be retired in 2010.


Northrop Grumman and Cassidian initiated the trans-Atlantic German Full Scale Demonstrator program in 2000 with the goal of developing an unmanned, wide-area, surveillance and reconnaissance system that would bring together the companies' respective expertise in UAS and sensor technology. A bilateral agreement between the U.S. Air Force and the German Ministry of Defence signed in October 2001 included the operation of the HALE UAS concept, sensor integration and the Nordholz flight demonstration program in the German Full Scale Demonstrator development.

In October 2003, a U.S. Air Force Global Hawk equipped with an Cassidian/EADS ELINT sensor prototype successfully completed a series of demonstration flights from the German Navy's Nordholz Air Base over the North Sea. The flights marked the first HALE UAS flights to take place in German airspace.

The German Ministry of Defence awarded a contract in January 2007 to EURO HAWK® GmbH for the development, test and support of the German Full Scale Demonstrator SIGINT system. Formed as a 50-50 joint venture company by Northrop Grumman and Cassidian, EURO HAWK® GmbH acts as the national prime contractor for the German Ministry of Defence throughout the lifecycle of the German Full Scale Demonstrator system.

In June 2010, the German Full Scale Demonstrator successfully completed its first flight from Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., facility to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Its historic ferry flight to Germany was completed July 2011. Subsequent systems are expected for delivery between 2016 and 2017 following successful testing and introduction in German operational service.


German Full Scale Demonstrator First Sensor Flight:

YouTube Video
Additional Information



Wingspan: 130.9 ft. (39.9 m)
Length: 47.6 ft. (14.5 m)
Height: 15.4 ft. (4.7 m)
Gross Takeoff Weight: 32,250 lbs. (14,628 kg)
Maximum Altitude: 60,000 ft. (18.3 km)
Payload: 3,000 lbs. (1,360 kg)
Ferry Range: 12,300 nm (22,780 km)
Loiter Velocity: 310 knots TAS (True Air Speed)
On-Station Endurance at 1,200 nm: 24 hours
Maximum Endurance: 30+ hours

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