Hensoldt Team Rolls Out First German Pegasus Spy Plane

A Hensoldt-led consortium has launched the first reconfigured aircraft in Wichita, Kansas, under Berlin’s Pegasus signals intelligence program.

The effort is part of the German Air Force and Cyber Command’s objective to boost the country’s “self-protection and electronic warfare” capabilities by expanding its airborne surveillance fleet.

Hensoldt signed the agreement to supply its Kalætron Integral signals intelligence capability for Germany’s preferred Pegasus aircraft in 2021. Defense industry partners Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik were selected as the program’s subcontractors. 

The following year, Bombardier started the modification of a Global 6000 business jet while Lufthansa began the Kalætron Integral’s integration plan at its Hamburg facility.

By the end of 2023, Hensoldt’s mission system design passed the customer acceptance process.

Global 6000 business jet. Photo: Bombardier Defense
Global 6000 business jet. Photo: Bombardier Defense

“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,” Bombardier Defense VP Steve Patrick stated.

“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

The consortium wrote that the Pegasus roll-out will be followed by the aircraft’s initial ground and flight tests at Bombardier’s Kansas site.

After corresponding demonstrations, the vehicle will be transferred to Lufthansa in Hamburg for additional work.

Germany is scheduled to receive the first Pegasus spy plane in 2026. It will be followed by two more by 2028.

“The roll-out 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,” Lufthansa Technik Special Aircraft Services VP Michael von Puttkamer remarked.

“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.”

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