Northrop Grumman Corporation and EADS Defence & Security (DS) has unveiled the first Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed for the German Air Force.

The German Air Force will use the Euro Hawk, as a reconnaissance aircraft to provide total control over its intelligence activities.

Based on the block 20 Global Hawk, Euro Hawk will be equipped with new signal intelligence (SIGINT) mission system developed by DS.

DS will provide a SIGINT ground station, which will receive and analyse the data from Euro Hawk, while Northrop will provide another ground station, which will consist a mission control and launch and recovery elements.

DS mission air systems senior vice president Nicolas Chamussy said the SIGINT system provides stand-off capability to detect electronic and communications emitters.

“The German armed forces will be able to independently cover their needs for SIGINT data collection and analysis, thus contributing to Nato, EU and UN peacekeeping operations,” he said.

The German Ministry of Defence awarded the $559m (€430m) contract to EuroHawk GmbH, a joint-venture company formed by Northrop Grumman Corporation and EADS for the development, test and support of the Euro Hawk aircraft in early 2007.

Under the contract, EuroHawk GmbH will also provide aircraft modifications, mission control and launch and recovery ground segments, flight test and logistics support to the German Air Force.

The air force will receive the first demonstrator in 2010, with the following four systems expected between 2011 and 2014.