NATO Contracts Major Missile Defense Upgrade

NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency on Thursday signed a EUR136 million contract with aerospace and defense company ThalesRaytheonSystems for a significant upgrade to NATO's current theater missile defense command and control capability.

By bringing new capabilities to NATO's Air Command and Control System (ACCS), the upgrade will strengthen and expand the Alliance's existing theater missile defense command and control system, which allows it to link national sensors and interceptors to defend against short and medium range ballistic missile threats, the NATO said in a press release. The upgrade also improves the capacity of NATO's Air Command in Ramstein, Germany, to plan and execute a missile defense battle.

"The execution of this contract will be a major technical milestone forward for NATO's theater missile defense," said Patrick Auroy, NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Defense Investment. "This contract links two of NATO's largest common funded investments - air and missile defense - paving the way for an integrated approach. What is important now is its timely execution," he added.

NCI Agency General Manager Koen Gijsbers and ThalesRaytheonSystem CEO Jack Harrington signed the contract at the Paris Air Show. The project involves companies from eight nations and 15 industry partners across Europe and North America.

"This cooperation illustrates the ability of our French-U.S. joint venture to deliver advanced technology projects across organizations and cultures," Harrington said.

The contract is NATO's largest common-funded security investment in 2013.

The contract, called ACCS Theater Missile Defense 1, will bring new capabilities to NATO's Air Command and Control System for receiving and processing ballistic missile tracks, including integration of additional radar and satellite feeds, major enhancement to data communication capacity and improved correlation features. The upgrade is expected to be completed by 2015.

The NCI Agency is responsible for executing and managing NATO's priority technology projects, including cyber, air and missile defense.

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