On 4 December 2020, the first NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) assets were handed over from the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Organization (NAGSMO) to the NATO Support and Procurement Organisation (NSPO) AGS Support Partnership Committee (SPC), where all NATO 30 Allies are represented.
The transition of the assets is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
The handover letter was signed by NAGSMO Board of Directors Chairman and AGS SPC Chairman during a ceremony organised in NATO Headquarters Brussels on 3 December 2020.
“We have all been working hard for years to achieve this milestone. The handover activities start with the first asset, Main Operation Support (MOS) transfer from the NAGSMO Nations, at 15, to the AGS Support Partnership Committee (SPC), at 30. This represents a huge milestone in the AGS and marks beginning of transfer from the procurement phase into operation phase, enabling our AGS Force to protect and keep our society safe. The transfer could not be possible without hard work, professionalism, effort and dedication of NAGSMA staff and other AGS Stakeholders, NCIA, NSPA, SHAPE, NAGS Force and industry partners. They all deserve a huge thanks for that”, said Mr Airis Rikveilis, NAGSMO Board of Directors Chairman.
“Today the Alliance becomes the proud owner and operator of the NATO AGS Core System, a key contributor to NATO Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) capability. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this achievement. Special mention to the commitment shown by the acquisition Agency, NAGSMA and the NAGSF personnel for their exceptional support. NSPA, as the Life Cycle Manager, has been working since long ago to provide effective Logistics Support and System Engineering, even in the final stages of the acquisition process and is now, ready to take over AGS Core System and keep it operationally relevant. In order to do so, we need a firm commitment from all 30 NATO Nations both, in terms of resources and budgetary contribution. This will allow the Life Cycle Manager and the Operators to provide the Alliance with the latest and the greatest JISR capability under the responsibility and guidance of the Support Partnership, which is the NATO AGS Governance Body”, said Dr. Werner Häfner, NATO AGS Support Partnership Chairman.
NATO’s AGS capability is a custom-made system procured by the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency (NAGSMA) on behalf of 15 Allies. With the handover of the assets, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) will become responsible of the full life cycle management of the AGS fleet, keeping the AGS system operationally relevant for the benefit of the 30 Allies.
The AGS is composed by five Global Hawk Block 40 aircraft, designated RQ-4D Phoenix. The fifth and last RQ-4D Phoenix arrived to the AGS Main Operating Base in Sigonella, Italy on Nov. 12.
The AGS capability is uniquely adapted to NATO needs and specifically designed to meet the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirements identified by the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
NATO’s collectively owned and operated AGS system will provide a unique state-of-the-art capability for all 30 Alliance members and contribute to a range of 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.