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NATO Unveils First AGS Global Hawk

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Nato's First Alliance Ground Surveillance Aircraft Unveiled

(Source: Northrop Grumman; issued June 4, 2015)

PALMDALE, Calif. --- Expanding NATO's joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, Northrop Grumman Corporation and its industry partners together with NATO leaders unveiled the first NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) aircraft to an audience of customers, distinguished guests, employees and community leaders.

The unmanned aircraft, a wide-area surveillance Global Hawk, is part of a broader system of systems solution that will advance the Alliance's evolving ISR needs during a full range of NATO's missions such as protection of ground troops and civilian populations, border control and maritime safety, the fight against terrorism, crisis management and humanitarian assistance in natural disasters.

"This marks a significant step forward in achieving NATO's goal of acquiring NATO-owned and operated AGS Core Capability," said Erling Wang, chairman of the NATO AGS Management Organization (NAGSMO). "What you see here today is the result of one of the commitments made at the 2012 NATO Summit – to bring this advanced and critical persistent ISR capability to the Alliance to help ensure we can continue to address the range of challenges our member and other allied nations face."

The NATO-owned and operated program comprises five air vehicles and fixed, mobile and transportable ground stations. Northrop Grumman's primary industrial team includes Airbus Defence and Space (Germany), Selex ES (Italy) and Kongsberg (Norway), as well as leading defense companies from all participating countries.

The industries of the 15 participating nations (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States), are each contributing to the delivery of the AGS system. All 28 Alliance nations will take part in the long-term support of the program.

"We are establishing the necessary ground stations, command and control systems, and training and logistics support services at the NATO AGS main operating base at Sigonella Air Base in Italy," stated Jim Edge, general manager of the NATO AGS Management Agency.

With the ability to fly for up to 30 hours at a time, the high-altitude long-endurance system will provide NATO leaders with persistent global situational awareness. The aircraft is equipped with leading-edge technology, including the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor. The MP-RTIP will provide critical data to commanders during operations in any weather, day or night. The NATO AGS system will also be able to fuse sensor data, continuously detect and track moving objects and provide detailed imagery.

"The level of collaboration required to bring together successfully so many international partners in the development of this tremendous system of systems capability for NATO speaks to the commitment and strength of the trans-Atlantic relationships we have built with our key partners, to deliver what is truly a European program," said Janis Pamiljans, sector vice president and general manager, unmanned systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.


Progress on AGS with Completion of First NATO-owned Air Vehicle

(Source: NATO; issued Jun 5, 2015)

The first of NATO’s five unmanned air vehicles rolled off the factory line in San Diego on Thursday, 4 June 2015. The Global Hawk Block 40 is part of the Alliance Ground Surveillance Program (AGS).

The NATO-owned and -operated AGS core capability will enable the Alliance to perform persistent surveillance over wide areas from high-altitude long-endurance aircraft in any weather or light condition. The system will give commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground.

The AGS system is being acquired by 15 Allies (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States). AGS is scheduled to reach initial operational capability by the end of 2017.

The air vehicles will be controlled from the main operating centre in Sigonella, Italy.


Selex ES Plays Key Role In NATO AGS Programme; Selex ES Is Involved In the System’s Ground Segment

(Source: Selex ES; issued June 4, 2015)

ROME --- As the first NATO AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance) aircraft rolls out today in a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Corporation’s aircraft integration centre in Palmdale, CA, Selex ES is proud to highlight its major role in the programme. The rollout is an important milestone in the programme which will support joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for all 28 NATO allies.

Selex ES provides the Mission Operation Support (MOS) and two Transportable General Ground Stations (TGGS) for the NATO AGS ground segment. Six Mobile General Ground Stations (MGGS) developed by Airbus are also part of the segment. Selex ES will also deliver the Wide Band Data Link (WBDL) which provides line-of-sight communication between the ground segment and the system’s unmanned aerial vehicles.

The complete NATO AGS system comprises air, ground, mission operation and support elements. It performs all-weather, persistent, wide-area terrestrial and maritime surveillance in near real-time. The system will help protect ground troops and civilian populations, improve border control and maritime safety, help with the fight against terrorism and enhance crisis management and humanitarian assistance operations in response to natural disasters.

The NATO AGS system’s air segment includes five unmanned Global Hawk Block 40 aerial systems and their control station (AVMC2). The ground segment comprises a number of ground stations in various configurations which will provide data-link connectivity, data-processing and exploitation capabilities and interfaces for interoperability with C2ISR systems. The support segment provides dedicated mission support facilities at the AGS main operating base (MOB) in Sigonella, Italy.

NATO AGS will be deployed for operation from 2017. The main operating site at Sigonella Air Base will serve a dual purpose as a NATO Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) deployment base and a data exploitation and training centre.

Selex ES is a global technology provider delivering innovative systems, products and solutions to answer the growing demand for enhanced capabilities in the national security and military domains as well as in complex civil infrastructure management. Selex ES has a workforce of 17,000 people, main operations in Italy and the UK and a strong industrial and commercial footprint in the US, Germany, Turkey, Romania, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India.