NATO AGS force commander welcomes transfer of mobile equipment at Sigonella

The first Production Unit of the mobile deployable part of the Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) Core system, the Mobile General Ground Station (MGGS), was transferred to the NATO AGS Main Operating Base at Sigonella in mid-March, marking another milestone in the completion of the AGS Programme.

“This transfer represents a major milestone for us, as this MGGS unit is the first piece of exploitation equipment taken over by NATO, by the AGS Force, in the framework of the AGS Programme,” said the NATO AGS Force Commander, Brigadier General Phillip Stewart at the NATO AGS Force Main Operating Base at Sigonella, Italy.

This transfer represents a major milestone for us, as this MGGS unit is the first piece of exploitation equipment taken over by the AGS Force. “Acting on behalf of the AGS procuring Nations, the NATO AGS Management Agency (NAGSMA) is very proud to offer to the NATO AGS Force an Early Use of Mobile General Ground Station (MGGS) Production Unit for familiarization and training” said Brigadier General Volker Samanns, the NAGSMA General Manager.

NATO’s AGS Core system includes five remotely piloted RQ-4D Phoenix aircraft, developed and produced specifically to NATO’s requirements, as well as mobile and transportable ground segments, produced by European industries. The system is being procured by 15 Allies via NAGSMA, who together with industry and the NATO AGS Force continues performance tests at Sigonella aiming at handing over the entire system to the user, the AGS Force.

“I cannot wait to deploy the MGGS for the first time,” said Brigadier General Stewart. “It provides us and the Alliance with the exploitation capabilities we need in the most mobile and flexible packaging for rapid deployments all over the world,” he added. NATO has ordered a total of six MGGS units, which have already been sent to the Main Operating Base at the Italian Air Force Base at Sigonella.

The first two (of five) RQ-4D Phoenix aircraft arrived in Sigonella last December, and a test flight over the Mediterranean Sea was performed in March this year. The initial Operational Capability is scheduled in 2020.

According to industry, the MGGS aims at providing the Alliance with an unprecedented capability of persistent surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance over wide areas. The MGGS is the mobile deployable part of the AGS core, perfectly integrated into shelters and easily transportable. Its exploitation component enables the processing and management of the radar images received, whilst its communication component ensures the distribution of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance data to forward-deployed users, regardless of location or communications infrastructure in the field.

Radar images will be acquired by the RQ-4D Phoenix remotely piloted aircraft and received via a direct or satellite broadband connection. In addition, data from all interoperable Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems operated by NATO and its member states can be received and evaluated. The exploitation results will provide information about stationary and moving objects on the ground to the local unit’s commander and can be distributed as well within NATO forces.

The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system is collectively owned and operated by the Allies. All Allies will have access to date acquired by the system. As such it will fill a capability gap for NATO in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance domain.