In 2019, the Luftwaffe (GAF, German Air Force) abandoned its plans to have the Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) task performed by the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAS. This plan was the follow-up of the Euro Hawk Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) initiative that was cancelled in 2013 due to the expected development cost.
In August 2021, Germany confirmed the plans to acquire a new strategic airborne SIGINT capability based on a fleet of modified Bombardier Global 6000 business jets. Three Global 6000 will be rebuilt to execute the so-called Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System (PEGASUS) task. It will take to 2028 before the three platforms are fully operational and the long existing gap in SIGINT capacity will be filled. This gap started in 2010, when the last Breguet BR1150 Atlantic was retired from service.
Currently two of the three Global 6500 business jets are with Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg where their modification and installation of the SIGINT package takes shape. Most likely the future serials of the aircraft will be 14+10 to 14+12.
On 20 June 2022, Global 6500 C-GVJL (msn 60057) arrived at Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel. According to the Scramble database the aircraft is temporary registered on 17 October 2022 as N657HN with TVPX Aircraft Solutions Inc Trustee at North Salt Lake (UT). A second Global 6500, C-GZQA (msn 60061), arrived at Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel on 26 September 2022. This one is temporary registered on 31 October 2022 as N661HN, also with TVPX Aircraft Solutions Inc Trustee.
When ready, the three SIGINT platforms will be based at Schleswig-Jagel air base to join the Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader (TLG) 51 Immelmann. A unique squadron that will consist of an interesting mix of manned (Tornado and Global 6500) and unmanned (IAI Heron UAS) aircraft. The latter will arrive at Jagel at the end of 2023.
On 3 July 2021, another Global 6500 for the GAF was noted at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (Canada) in VIP markings making a testflight. This VIP aircraft is registered D-AEND since 25 August 2021. However, the Global has not yet been delivered to the air force.
Image by BAAINBw (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr)