The first of five NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance aircraft has arrived at the AGS Main Operating Base in Sigonella, Italy, on Thursday, after completing a 22-hour test flight from the United States.
The AGS NATO RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft is based on the US Air Force block 40 Global Hawk built by Northrop Grumman.
All Allies will have access to data acquired by AGS, and will benefit from the intelligence derived from the surveillance and reconnaissance missions that AGS will undertake.
The NATO AGS program includes five NATO RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft. All five are currently performing different stages of developmental test flights. The entire AGS system will be handed over to the NATO AGS Force once it has completed all its testing and performance verification. Initial operational capability is expected for the first half of 2020.
“I welcome the arrival of the first Alliance Ground Surveillance aircraft in Sigonella. This demonstrates that NATO Allies are committed to modernizing the Alliance and investing to deliver key cutting-edge capabilities to the benefit of our shared security,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.