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Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System (PEGASUS)

The German Armed Forces decided not to implement the Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System (PEGASUS) with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle. Three MQ-4D PEGASUS air vehicles were envisaged to provide capability across the full range of German military missions – including strategic SIGINT, Indications & Warning, peacetime surveillance, and crisis management for sovereign or NATO operations. After Germany retired its specially modified signals intelligence Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft, there was a clear gap in the capabilities of Germany to provide for either national or NATO SIGINT capabilities.

After the preparation of the Euro Hawk for the 2013 project failed, the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr selected the combination of ISIS and Triton, a further development of the Global Hawk from Northrop Grumman, for the reconnaissance system in his selection decision in March 2017. The arrival of the first of a total of three platforms was planned from 2025.

Germany announced 28 January 2020 that after months of deliberation, the ministry of defense decided to forego its initial efforts to install a new reconnaissance system on Northrop Grumman's Triton drones and will instead fix the eavesdropping sensors to Canadian firm Bombardier's manned Global 6000 jets. The decision to buy Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft comes after officials became convinced that the Global Hawk derivatives would be unable to meet the safety standards needed for flying through European airspace by 2025, a target date for Berlin’s NATO obligations.

Germany had initially planned for the Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System (PEGASUS) to be installed on the drones, recent financing headaches combined with concerns over European airspace regulations have led to the plan's undoing. A spokeswoman with the ministry told Defense News that the estimated $2.5 billion Triton option, which was approved by the US State Department in April 2018, had grown "significantly more expensive" when compared to earlier assumptions and would not be delivered until 2025. Additionally, opting for a manned aircraft provides Berlin with the ability to not worry about meeting European Aviation Safety Agency guidelines concerning the safety of operating unmanned aircraft alongside conventional air traffic.

A critical point in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is their required use in public airspace. Technologies such as "Sense and Avoid" are intended to ensure that the UAVs do not pose any additional dangers. It now appears that the Triton will not be able to meet the requirements of the safety standards in European airspace by 2025.

The contract for the giant reconnaissance drones "PErsistent German Airborne SUrveillance System“ (PEGASUS) would have been stationed in Schleswig-Holstein. The PEGASUS drones are based on the GLOBAL HAWK, which is flown from Sicily by the Bundeswehr as part of a NATO program. This weight class also includes the mothballed EURO HAWK, the remains of which are to be sold to Canada.

The appelation "Pegasus" is dreadfully over-used, and a more creative effort at nomenclature is called for. Pegasus has been used for

  • Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) solar powered UAV
  • Northrop Grumman's X-47B as its Unmanned Combat Air System
  • Pegasus Aerospace tactical drone
  • Robotic Research Pegasus™ is a family of VTOL UAS
  • Sky Rider's Quadcopter Drone with Wi-Fi Camera.

The famous winged horse Pegasus sprang forth when Perseus struck of the head of Medusa, with whom Poseidon had had intercourse in the form of a horse or a bird. The horse Pegasus obtained the name Pegasus because he was believed to have made his appearance near the sources of Oceanus. Pegasus rose up to the seats of the immortals, and afterwards lived in the palace of Zeus, for whom he carried thunder and lightning. According to this view, which is apparently the most ancient, Pegasus was the thundering horse of Zeus; but later writers describe him as the horse of Eos and place him among the stars as the heavenly horse.

Pegasus also acts a prominent part in the fight of Bellerophon against the Chimaera. After Bellerophon had tried and suffered much to obtain possession of Pegasus for his fight against the Chimaera, he consulted the soothsayer Polyidus at Corinth. The latter advised him to spend a night in the temple of Athena, and, as Bellerophon was sleeping, the goddess appeared to him in a dream, commanding him to sacrifice to Poseidon, and gave him a golden bridle. When he awoke he found the bridle, offered the sacrifice, and caught Pegasus, who was drinking at the well Peirene. After he had conquered the Chimaera (Pindar says that he also conquered the Amazons and the Solymi, Ol. xiii. 125), he endeavoured to rise up to heaven with his winged horse, but fell down upon the earth, either from fear or from giddiness, or being thrown off by Pegasus, who was rendered furious by a gad-fly which Zeus had sent. But Pegasus continued his flight.

Whether Hesiod considered Pegasus as a winged horse, cannot be inferred with certainty; but Pindar, Euripides, and the other later writers, expressly mention his wings. Pegasus lastly was also regarded as the horse of the Muses, and in this capacity he is more celebrated in modern times than he ever was in antiquity; for with the ancients he had no connection with the Muses, except that by his hoof he called forth the inspiring well Hippocrene. The Muses themselves also are sometimes called Pegasides, as well as other nymphs of wells and brooks.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:04:05 ZULU