A Global 6000 business jet has arrived in Wichita, Kansas, where it will be modified by Canadian company Bombardier Defense to serve as Germany’s new signals intelligence aircraft.
Bombardier has a contract from Lufthansa Technik under which it is supporting the Hensoldt-led PEGASUS program of the German armed forces.
Bombardier Defense will perform major structural modifications to accommodate the “Kalætron Integral” signal intelligence (SIGINT) system developed by Hensoldt, which collects and analyzes military signals from radar and radio systems.
The integration of this system will subsequently be performed at Lufthansa Technik’s special mission aircraft competence center in Hamburg, Germany.
Delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled for 2026, with all deliveries set to conclude in 2028.
Germany was been without an airborne system for signals intelligence (SIGINT) since the retirement of the Breguet Atlantic reconnaissance aircraft in 2010. The PEGASUS contract from July last year will allow the country to close this capability gap.
Bombardier has previously delivered three Global 6000 jets to Lufthansa Technik since the aircraft was selected for the program in 2020.
This milestone marks the first major work package for a European customer performed at Bombardier Defense’s US headquarters in Wichita, Kansas since the company unveiled the site’s new mission in April 2022.
Bombardier Defense will now be transitioning to the aircraft modification phase after its engineering team developed precise and mission-specific designed solutions. Bombardier Defense will then perform testing and required certification of the modified aircraft. As part of this program, Lufthansa Technik will perform and support systems integration for Hensoldt, in addition to engineering and modification work contracted to Bombardier Defense.
“This most recent milestone is a testament to the quality of Bombardier jets for both VIP transport and special mission applications,” said Steve Patrick, vice president, Bombardier Defense. “Bombardier Defense’s full suite of mission-specific design, manufacturing, and certification capabilities, combined with Lufthansa Technik’s expertise will ensure Hensoldt receives a reliable, high-performing platform, perfectly tailored to their mission requirements and payload.”
“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.
“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 air SIGINT at Hensoldt. “Together with our partners Bombardier Defense and Lufthansa Technik, we are determined to maintain the swift pace established to answer the pressing need of our customer for strategic surveillance capabilities.”