Don’t Blame Us for Euro Hawk, Says EADS Cassidian Boss
EADS Cassidian chief executive officer Bernhard Gerwert has defended the company’s credibility as an unmanned airborne systems (UAS) provider, in the wake of the Euro Hawk cancellation. The company was a 50-percent partner in the joint venture with Northrop Grumman that was providing the high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) system to the German air force. The German parliament last week opened an investigation into the Euro Hawk affair and is expected to interview senior executives from both companies, as well as military and government officials, before reporting in early September.
“You cannot blame us,” Gerwert told AIN at the Paris Air Show last month. He noted that Cassidian’s responsibility in the joint venture was to develop and deliver the Euro Hawk’s integrated signals intelligence system (ISIS), not the platform. Moreover, he added, it was the German government that chose not to adopt the U.S. certification requirements for the HALE UAS. “That was nothing to do with industry,” he added. EADS chief executive officer Tom Enders also made a critical comment about German certification requirements during the Paris show.
At Paris, EADS Cassidian claimed to be “the European leader in unmanned aerial systems.” It displayed a model of a future European medium-altitude, long-endurance (FEMALE) UAS, largely resembling the company’s previous design studies on the Talarion, that could be taken forward in a pan-European program.
“To secure comprehensive reconnaissance capabilities, Europe in the mid-term will be obliged to procure a UAS that will replace today’s generation. Particularly regarding certification issues, a European development is the only reasonable solution,” Gerwert said recently.
Also at Paris, Cassidian presented a UAS research project named Sagitta. In collaboration with German universities and institutes, the project aims to develop a tailless flying wing demonstrator with a span of 12 meters (40 feet) that will take to the air next year as a 1:4 scale model. The Sagitta project is researching preliminary aircraft design; aerodynamics; flight control systems; communications and data processing; vision-based flight control and air-to-air refueling; materials and structure; autonomous flight and mission control; and simulation and systems integration.
Cassidian’s German organization is not a member of the pan-European industrial consortium that has developed the tailless Neuron UCAS demonstrator, although the company’s subsidiary in Spain is a participant. However, Cassidian Germany has developed knowledge in many of these areas through its Barracuda UAS demonstrator , although this is not a tailless design. In the 10 years since development of the Barracuda began, it has completed more than 540 ground tests and 13 flight tests. Further test campaigns are planned, Cassidian said recently.
Cassidian did not display at Paris the UAS developed by Rheinmetall Airborne Systems, which is now 50-percent owned by Cassidian. The company was recently renamed Cassidian Airborne Solutions. But it did display the diesel-powered and stealth-shaped Tanan 300 VTOL tactical UAS that was first shown at the Eurosatory show in Paris last year. Payloads can include EO/IR cameras, IFF, AIS, maritime radar and ELINT systems.
Also on display at the EADS pavilion was the Tracker/DRAC mini-UAS, which is in service with the French Army and other export customers, and the Copter 4 mini VTOL UAS. The Copter 4 is involved in an ongoing trial with the French electricity distribution network operator ERDF, inspecting medium-high voltage aerial power lines. It was developed by French company Survey Copter, which is now a subsidiary of Cassidian.
View an image gallery of the Cassidian UAS on display at the Paris Air Show.