22 Aug 2013 By Zach Rosenberg – FG
Washington DC - Germany has denied that negotiations are ongoing in an attempt to salvage Northrop Grumman's Euro Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV) deal, nixed in May over airspace concerns.
The German ministry of defence expressed "surprise" with comments by Northrop vice-president Tom Vice, who spoke to reporters on 20 August.
"We're continuing to work with the Germans to find a solution on this programme," Vice said. "We continue to have discussions, but the thing we continue to point out is that the capability continues to match their needs. The programme is going extremely well we're making a lot of progress, we're having discussions, we'll see where that ends up."
The ministry is seeking clarification from involved companies.
The programme, meant to supply surveillance capabilities to Germany using four modified RQ-4 Global Hawks, is formally scheduled to end in September. The programme's cancellation was largely a result of Germany's airspace regulators, expressing concern over integrating UAVs routinely into airspace.
"The Global Hawk programme has 97% of its life ahead of it. It's a maturing programme," Vice said.
In the USA, Global Hawk has its own problems. Citing high costs and sub-par performance, the US Air Force is seeking to retire the Global Hawk Block 30, originally meant to replace the aging Lockheed U-2 in its surveillance role, while continuing operations of the Block 40.