The ill-fated RQ-4E unmanned aerial vehicle is heading to a museum in the German capital, after a plan to sell the plane to Canada collapsed.

The fate of the German UAV RQ-4E has been bitterly determined. European aviation authorities repeatedly refused to certify the giant drone to fly over the continent. Fears that the unmanned aircraft could put civilian air traffic at risk in congested European airspace.

German UAV RQ-4E
German UAV RQ-4E

The European Aviation Safety Agency certification was only available for flights over unpopulated areas, and there was no guarantee that this would change in the near-term. With that in mind, the German military would not be unable to operate the aircraft from its own bases for either training purposes or operational missions.

To complete this license, Germany will need to spend an additional $780 million, most of which is the cost of revamping the RQ-4E to meet standards. During this time, the RQ-4E will not be allowed to operate, but will still incur relative storage costs. Combined with major cost overruns and long delays, Berlin decided to scrap the program.

As for the German Armed Forces, they now pin their hopes on an all-new SIGINT platform, being pursued under the Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System program, or Pegasus. And with the current situation, it will probably take many more years before Germany can find a new platform to replace this RQ-4E.


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