Hensoldt Team Rolls Out First German Pegasus Spy Plane
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies 

Wichita, Kansas – In a significant milestone for Germany’s defense capabilities, a consortium led by Hensoldt has successfully launched the first reconfigured Pegasus signals intelligence aircraft. This rollout, which took place in Wichita, Kansas, is a crucial step in enhancing the German Air Force and Cyber Command’s airborne surveillance and electronic warfare capacities.

The Pegasus program, aimed at bolstering Germany’s “self-protection and electronic warfare” capabilities, involves a collaborative effort with industry partners Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik. The project saw Hensoldt signing an agreement in 2021 to supply its advanced Kalætron Integral signals intelligence system for the Pegasus aircraft. Following this, Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik were appointed as subcontractors to modify and integrate the system into the aircraft.

In 2022, Bombardier commenced the modification of a Global 6000 business jet, while Lufthansa Technik began the integration of the Kalætron Integral system at its facility in Hamburg. By the end of 2023, Hensoldt’s mission system design had successfully passed the customer acceptance process, marking a key achievement in the program.

“Bombardier Defense is proud to have the trust of Hensoldt, Lufthansa Technik Defense, and the Luftwaffe to complete this critical work on the high-performing Global 6000 aircraft for the Pegasus program,” stated Steve Patrick, Vice President of Bombardier Defense. “Thanks to our companies’ continued close collaboration and joint expertise, we are making important strides and have a clear line of sight on the aircraft’s upcoming milestones, including the start of the flight test campaign in the coming months.”

Trials Next, Delivery by 2026

Following the rollout, the Pegasus aircraft will undergo initial ground and flight tests at Bombardier’s Kansas site. These tests will demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities and ensure all systems are functioning as expected. After the testing phase, the aircraft will be transferred to Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg for further work and integration.

Germany is expected to receive the first Pegasus spy plane in 2026, with two additional aircraft scheduled for delivery by 2028. This timeline is crucial for Germany’s strategic planning and operational readiness in the realm of signals intelligence and electronic warfare.

Michael von Puttkamer, Vice President of Lufthansa Technik Special Aircraft Services, remarked, “The rollout of the first structurally modified Global 6000 aircraft indeed marks a major milestone, not just as an important prerequisite for Lufthansa Technik Defense’s PEGASUS work packages, but for the overall progress of this pioneering signals intelligence aircraft project. We thank Hensoldt and Bombardier for the good cooperation and we almost can’t wait to see this aircraft taking to the air, performing its flight tests and returning to Hamburg again, where in the upcoming systems integration phase we will be proud to build on the high-quality work of the team in Wichita.”

Strategic Significance

The Pegasus program represents a substantial enhancement of Germany’s defense capabilities, particularly in signals intelligence. The Kalætron Integral system is designed to detect, classify, and analyze a wide range of signals, providing the German Air Force with critical intelligence capabilities. This will enable more effective monitoring of electronic communications and radar emissions, enhancing situational awareness and operational effectiveness.

Moreover, the successful integration and deployment of the Pegasus aircraft will demonstrate the ability of European defense companies to collaborate on complex projects, furthering technological and strategic advancements within NATO.

The rollout of the first Pegasus spy plane marks a significant achievement in Germany’s efforts to modernize its military and intelligence capabilities. As the project progresses through testing and integration phases, it promises to deliver a cutting-edge tool for signals intelligence, crucial for national security and defense. The collaboration between Hensoldt, Bombardier, and Lufthansa Technik underscores the importance of international cooperation in advancing defense technologies and ensuring readiness for emerging threats.

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