NATO nations took an important step towards the delivery of a NATO-owned and operated ground surveillance and reconnaissance capability on Sunday, when a procurement contract for the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system was signed on the margins of the NATO Summit in Chicago.
Paving the way for the delivery of a vital capability that will be made available to all NATO member nations, AGS will be a NATO-owned and operated system and will be fully operational in 2017.
The procurement contract was signed by the NATO AGS Management Agency (NAGSMA), representing the 13 Allies that will acquire the AGS system to the benefit of all Allies, and the industrial prime contractor. Operating under the NATO command, AGS will be the major data source for NATO's system for Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR).
NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow addressed the event in the presence of the Alliance's Defense Ministers.
"Today is a big day for the Alliance Ground Surveillance program," Vershbow said. "The signature of the procurement contract for the AGS system is an important step towards the delivery of this key capability to the Alliance. It will move us from consultations to implementation, from an idea to a program, from a paper on our desk to a capability operating at an altitude of 60,000 feet," he added.
The AGS acquisition contract includes the purchase and initial operation and maintenance of unmanned aircraft equipped with advanced ground surveillance radar sensors. The system will provide a real-time and long-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to NATO forces in a wide range of missions, including protecting ground forces, crisis management, peace support operations, border and maritime security and humanitarian assistance.
"The decision to move ahead with the Alliance Ground Surveillance program in today's difficult economic climate sends a powerful message," the Deputy Secretary-General said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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