In a telephone interview, Northrop Director of Communications Tim Paynter said media reports describing Germany's cancellation of the contract are inaccurate. Regarding reports that the company refused to share technical data needed by German regulators to approve the drone system for flight in civilian airspace over Germany, Paynter countered that Northrop granted the German government "unlimited access" to more than 4,000 documents.
Additionally, reports of the death of the deal may have been greatly exaggerated. According to Paynter, Northrop has not yet received official notification from the German government that it is canceling the Euro Hawk program. Indeed, Northrop is still "working with the German government ... to define a path forward for the program," and the program is expected to come up for official discussion at a meeting of the Bundestag Defence Committee on June 5.
Euro Hawk is an unarmed surveillance drone derived largely from Northrop's RQ-4 Global Hawk HALE UAS -- an acronym denoting a "high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial system." Based on the Block 20 Global Hawk configuration, the Euro Hawk measures 131 feet wingtip to wingtip, is 48 feet long and 15 feet tall. It flies at altitudes as high as 60,000 feet and can remain airborne longer than 30 hours before needing to refuel.