Just four years after the initial contract signing at the 2012 Chicago Summit, the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system was presented to heads of state, NATO officials and hundreds of Summit attendees at the 2016 Warsaw Summit. The Summit, on July 8 and 9, 2016, was the first time the aircraft model and the operational mobile and transportable ground stations were displayed together. The display comes only a few months after the aircrafts’ first flight and in advance of the delivery of the system to the main operating base in Sigonella, Sicily.
The first fully NATO-owned and operated system will expand NATO’s joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability and support a full range of NATO missions, including protection of ground troops and civilian populations, border control and maritime safety, the fight against terrorism, crisis management and humanitarian assistance in natural disasters.
The full NATO AGS system consists of air, ground, mission operations and support elements, performing all-weather, persistent wide-area terrestrial and maritime surveillance in near real-time.
A derivative of the wide-area surveillance Global Hawk, the unmanned aircraft has the ability to fly for up to 30 hours at a time. The high-altitude long-endurance system will perform all-weather, persistent wide-area terrestrial and maritime surveillance in near real-time. The NATO-owned and operated system will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to support a range of NATO missions such as protection of ground troops and civilian populations, border control, maritime safety and humanitarian assistance.