Germany has confirmed plans to acquire a new strategic airborne signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability based on a fleet of modified Bombardier Global 6000 business jets.
Known as Pegasus (Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System), the acquisition will regenerate a SIGINT capability lapsed since the last of five Breguet BR1150 Atlantic aircraft modified under the Peace Peek program were retired in June 2010.
Hensoldt Sensors GmbH is taking the role of prime contractor and lead system integrator for Pegasus under a contract placed by the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) on June 29. Lufthansa Technik, as principal subcontractor, is taking responsibility for the procurement of the three Global 6000 aircraft from Bombardier, together with their modification and installation of a sovereign SIGINT package.
The Pegasus SIGINT “collect” suite will be based on core components from Hensoldt’s Kalaetron product family, with other deliverables including an analysis suite, a reference system and a training facility. Almost 30 companies from all over Germany are involved in the project as suppliers and partners.
According to the BAAINBw, the first Pegasus system is scheduled to enter service in 2026. Delivery of the full capability is planned for 2028.
Germany had previously looked to acquire a new SIGINT capability based on unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). However, the Euro Hawk program was scrapped in 2013, and a subsequent plan to acquire four SIGINT-configured Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAVs was abandoned in 2019 in favor of a manned platform solution. – R. Scott