Bombardier Starts Global 6000 Modification Work For Pegasus
The first of three Bombardier Global 6000 business jets that will be adapted to become signals intelligence platforms for the German Air Force has arrived in Kansas for modifications.
Bombardier Defense’s facility in Wichita will perform major structural modifications to all three aircraft in preparation for the installation of the Hensoldt-developed Kalætron Integral Sigint system, the aircraft OEM announced Nov. 28.
The Kalætron Integral system will later be installed by engineers at Lufthansa Technik’s special mission aircraft competence center in Hamburg.
Hensoldt was made prime contractor for the Pegasus program in summer 2021. Lufthansa Technik will perform systems integration, while engineering and modification work is being carried out by Bombardier Defense.
“The start of the structural modification phase indeed marks a major milestone, as it is an important prerequisite for the work packages of our special mission aircraft experts in Hamburg,” said Michael von Puttkamer, vice president Special Aircraft Services at Lufthansa Technik.
Germany plans to introduce the Pegasus capability into service around 2026. The program’s aim is to restore a Sigint capability for Germany which was lost due to the retirement of the Breguet Atlantic in 2010. A proposal to replace the Atlantic with the Eurohawk derivative of the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance uncrewed air system was canceled when the German defense ministry discovered it could face a €500 million ($517.2 million) bill to certify the Eurohawk platform to meet strict German airworthiness requirements.
Berlin considered adopting the uncrewed MQ-4 Triton as an alternative platform, but ultimately decided to adopt the crewed Global 6000 instead.
The modifications proposed for the Pegasus are extensive. They include cheek fairings fitted ahead of the wing, under fuselage radomes and an antennae farm spreading across the underside of the main wing, a model of the configuration displayed at the ILA Berlin Air Show suggested.
“With the immense progress made in the design work over the last 12 months, we are proud to see the Pegasus project entering the next stage,” added Jürgen Halder, vice president for airborne Sigint at Hensoldt.
Germany is already familiar with the Global 6000 platform. Several are already in use with the air force in the VIP mission, allowing the service to benefit from maintenance, training and spare parts procurement.
Several other air forces have adopted the business jet for special missions. They include airborne early warning with Saab’s GlobalEye, which was purchased by Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. Standoff jamming has been developed through Turkey’s HavaSOJ program, and the United Arab Emirates’ Project Dolphin created a signals and communications intelligence capability for the Arabian Gulf state.