The German Air Force unmanned aircraft system Euro Hawk, developed by Northrop Grumman and EADS Cassidian, has proved its long-endurance capability with a 30hr flight over Edwards Air Force Base in California, US.

The Euro Hawk is the first international configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance UAS.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems’ strike and surveillance systems division vice-president and general manager Duke Dufresne said the flight has not only demonstrated the aircraft’s endurance capability, but has also enabled the team to collect crucial communications data points.

Cassidian unmanned aerial systems senior-vice president Nicolas Chamussy said the aircraft will undergo additional flight testing in Germany before being delivered to the German Air Force by the end of 2011 to replace the fleet of manned Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which went out of service this year.

The Euro Hawk will be equipped with a signals intelligence mission system developed by Cassidian, providing standoff capability to detect electronic and communications emitters.

Delivery of four subsequent systems is anticipated between 2015 and 2016 following successful testing and introduction in German operational service.