German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière today gave his reasons for cancelling the Euro Hawk program while recognizing the urgent need to fill the capability gap it was meant to fill.
His press statement was accompanied by the submission of an 83-page report on the cancellation to the defense committee of the Bundestag, the German parliament.
He gave as reasons for the cancellation additional costs he estimated to be 500-600 million euros ($650-785 million) and the U.S. decision to phase out Global Hawk Block 20 and 30, which he expected to make it difficult to get spare parts and to lead to higher operating costs. In addition, he did not expect independent national mission planning to be possible until at least 2017, before which it would have to have been conducted from the United States.
Funding allocated to Euro Hawk will be used to acquire a different platform for its payload, with all candidates to be examined by the end of the year. In the meantime, the payload will continue to be tested until the end of September 2013, with the latest flight on the Euro Hawk demonstrator planned for tomorrow.
De Maizière also announced the creation of a German military aviation authority to certify all military aerial vehicles.
The German Ministry of Defense is examining the impact of the Euro Hawk cancellation on the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance System (AGS) but still plans to make whatever system replaces Euro Hawk available to the AGS core of four Global Hawks.