AGS: NATO’s Battlefield Eye in the Sky [Alliance Ground Surveillance]
Poland joins AGS; 1st fuselage complete; Canada may contribute to operating costs; Infrastructure approved for Sigonella; Additional Reading sections updated.
July 28/14: The fuselage of the 1st NATO AGS UAV is completed at Northrop Grumman’s Moss Point, MS plant, and is now on its way to Palmdale, CA to finish production. Sources: NATO NAGSMA, “Fuselage of the First NATO AGS UAV Completed”.
April 2/14: Poland joins. Acting on an earlier decision (q.v. Oct 24/12), Polish Brigadier General Wlodzimierz Nowak signs the AGS Programme Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of his country, officially joining the Core AGS Procurement Program. This brings the number of members to 15. Sources: NATO NAGSMA, “Poland Joins AGS.”
Dec 3/13: Production begins. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, MS officially begins production of the first NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Block 40 Global Hawk aircraft. Sources: NGC, “Northrop Grumman Begins On-Time Production of First NATO Global Hawk”.
Sept 19/13: Block 40. A USAF RQ-4B Block 40 takes off from Grand Forks AFB, ND on the type’s 1st combat mission. Sources: USAF, “Flying into the Fight: RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk deploys to war for first time”.
Aug 5/13: Canada. The Canadian Press reports that Canada won’t be contributing to AGS’ purchase phase, but Canada’s NATO representative Vice-Admiral Bob Davidson says that they’ll contribute to the system’s operating costs. Sources: Canadian Press, “Decision to withdraw from NATO surveillance programs to cost Cda contracts”.
June 18/13: Infrastructure. At a meeting of the NAGSMA Investment Committee, 1st Stage Authorisation is given for 10 civil works projects that would build out the necessary infrastructure for AGS’ Main Operating Base (MOB) at Sigonella, Italy. Sources: NATOI NAGSMA News, “First Stage Authorisation for MOB at Sigonella”.
The Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program began in 1995, and it has taken a very long time. Its MoU was late, its contract will be both late and smaller in scope, and it won’t meet even a revised 2012 – 2014 fielding window. At long last, however, one can be assured that it will exist. This is DID’s in-depth FOCUS Article covering the AGS program, from its platforms to its program structure to its long-awaited contracts.
The original AGS plan involved an Airbus A321 counterpart to Northrop Grumman’s E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS), a Boeing 707 derivative whose powerful ground-looking Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) offers American commanders combat-changing battlefield surveillance and communications. AGS would be a pooled NATO asset, adding 7 RQ-4B Global Hawk UAVs and dedicated ground stations to complement the manned planes. It has since been reduced to just 5 RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk UAVs and dedicated ground stations, but could expand again if countries decide to make some of their national surveillance assets part of the program.
The Need for AGS
NATO AGS: Program & History
NATO AGS: Platforms & Technologies
AGS: The Aerial Component
AGS: The Ground Component
AGS: Go Jump in the Pool
NATO AGS: Key Events & Contracts
2012 – 2013
2010 – 2011
2007 – 2009
2004 – 2006
Additional Readings & Sources
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