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6 juin 2015 6 06 /06 /juin /2015 07:50
L'OTAN a commandé cinq Global Hawk. photo Northrop Grumman

L'OTAN a commandé cinq Global Hawk. photo Northrop Grumman


05/06/2015 par Emmanuel Huberdeau – Air & Cosmos


Northrop Grumman a présenté le 4 juin 2015 le premier drone HALE (Haute Altitude Longue Endurance) Global Hawk destiné à l'OTAN, baptisé "NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) aircraft".


La commande du Global Hawk avait été décidée en 2012 lors du sommet de l'OTAN. A Chicago, les pays de l'alliance avaient alors signé le contrat d'acquisition de cinq drones  "stratégiques” RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40.


Northrop Grumman annonce que le système a été développé en collaboration avec des industriels européens dont Airbus Defence and Space, Selex ES et Kongsberg. Au total, les industriels de 15 pays (Sur les 28 de l'OTAN) ont été impliqués dans le programme AGS. Les 28 pays de l'alliance participeront ensuite au soutien du système sur le long terme. L'achat des drones et des équipements associés, ainsi que la formation du personnel, représentent un coût de plus d'un milliard d'euros, selon l'Otan. Les coûts de fonctionnement de l'AGS au cours des vingt prochaines années seront supérieurs à 2 md€. La France ne participe pas au programme d'acquisition.


Suite de l’article

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11 août 2014 1 11 /08 /août /2014 16:20
Fuselage of the First NATO AGS UAV Completed


Source defense-unmanned.com

(Source: NATO; issued July, 28 2014)


BRUSSELS --- NAGSMA General Manager, Jim Edge, and NAGSMO Chairman, Erling Wang announced that the Fuselage of the first NATO AGS UAV has been completed at Northrop-Grumman’s plant at Moss Point (Mississippi, USA). The fuselage is now on its way to Palmdale, California in order to complete the production.


The AGS Core will be an integrated system consisting of an air segment and a ground segment and related support systems. The air segment consists of five Global Hawk Block 40 high-altitude, long-endurance UAVs.


The UAVs will be equipped with a state-of-the-art, Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) ground surveillance radar sensor, as well as an extensive suite of line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight, long-range, wideband data links.


The air segment will also contain the UAV flight control stations (AVMC2), which will be located at the AGS main operating base at Sigonella Air Base, Italy.


The ground segment will provide an interface between the AGS Core system and a wide range of command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C2ISR) systems to interconnect with and provide data to multiple deployed and non-deployed operational users, including reach-back facilities remote from the surveillance area.


The ground segment component will consist of a number of ground/maritime stations in various configurations, such as mobile and transportable, which will provide data-link connectivity, surveillance, data-processing and exploitation capabilities via interfaces (interoperability) with NATO and national C2ISR systems.

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5 décembre 2013 4 05 /12 /décembre /2013 08:20
Northrop starts production of Global Hawk UAS for NATO


MOSS POINT, Miss., Dec. 4 (UPI)


NATO's first Global Hawk unmanned surveillance vehicle is starting to take shape on a Northrop Grumman production line, the company reports.


The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Block 40 Global Hawk has a cruise speed of 357 miles per hour, a range of 8,700 miles, a service ceiling of 60,000 feet and a flight endurance of more than 30 hours.


Once operational with NATO it will provide near real-time terrestrial and maritime situational awareness information throughout the full range of NATO military and civil-military missions.


NATO has ordered five of the aircraft, which will feature enhancements to meet the alliance's requirements for performing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, Northrop said.


"The variety of sensors and ability to support a wide range of missions will revolutionize how NATO collects ISR," said Jim Edge, general manager of NATO's Air, Ground Surveillance Management Agency. "It was an honor to witness the start of production for the first NATO aircraft, and I'm excited at being one step closer to delivering the AGS system."


Production was kicked off with a ceremony at Northrop's facility in Mississippi, which was attended by representatives of the alliance, state government officials, community leaders and Northrop employees.


"Mississippi excels at advanced manufacturing, and the sophisticated aircraft that will be built at Northrop Grumman's Moss Point facility are a testament to the quality of the area's workforce," Gov. Phil Bryant said at the event. "Our state is also building a strong presence in the aerospace industry, and this operation will certainly bolster our reputation."


The NATO AGS system will be equipped with the multi-mode, Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion airborne ground surveillance radar sensor to provide all-weather, day or night intelligence. The system a suite of network-centric enabled line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight long-range, wide-band data links.


It also features European-sourced ground assets to provide in-theater support to commanders of deployed forces. Mobile ground stations, for interface between the AGS core system and a wide range of interoperable NATO and national command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems are also part of the system.


"With the ability to fly up to 60,000 feet and for more than 30 hours, the NATO AGS system is uniquely suited to support NATO missions worldwide," said Jim Culmo, vice president, High-Altitude, Long Endurance Enterprise, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.


Northrop said NATO is acquiring the system with 15 nations participating in the program. They are: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States.


Companies participating in the project with Northrop include Cassidian, Selex ES, Kongsberg and defense companies from participating countries.


Details of the production/delivery schedule for the first and subsequent Global Hawks was not disclosed.

Northrop starts production of Global Hawk UAS for NATO
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18 novembre 2013 1 18 /11 /novembre /2013 08:55
29e café stratégique AGS, Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos : De Boko Haram à AQMI – le chaînon manquant • jeudi 21 novembre


novembre 16, 2013 par AGS


29e Café stratégique AGS avec Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos
professeur à l’Institut Français de Géopolitique – Université Paris 8


De Boko Haram à AQMI – le chaînon manquant


Jeudi 21 novembre 2013, 19-21h

Venez écouter, débattre, questionner…


Café Le Concorde-Assemblée nationale,
239 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris
métro Assemblée nationale

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 16:50
RAF chief hints at Sentinel AGS role post-Afghanistan

Jun. 11, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG


London - The UK could use its Raytheon Systems Sentinel R1 battlefield reconnaissance aircraft as a national adjunct to NATO's alliance ground surveillance (AGS) fleet of unmanned air vehicles, says Royal Air Force chief of the air staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.

RAF chief hints at Sentinel AGS role post-Afghanistan

Using NATO's Boeing E-3-equipped airborne early warning and control system force and the RAF's contribution of E-3D Sentry aircraft as an example of such an arrangement, Dalton says: "Sentinel could form part of NATO AGS, along with [Northrop Grumman] Global Hawk UAVs."

RAF chief hints at Sentinel AGS role post-Afghanistan

The UK coalition government's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) of September 2010 proposed retiring the RAF's relatively new fleet of five Bombardier Global Express-derived Sentinels, once the type was no longer needed to support NATO-led activities in Afghanistan. However, the Ministry of Defence in May 2012 indicated its intention to provide a "contribution in kind" to the multinational AGS programme, with the manned surveillance aircraft being its most applicable solution.


Speaking at a Royal Aeronautical Society lecture in London on 10 June, Dalton said the at-risk Sentinel system has proven its ability to deliver "timely, and fully releasable intelligence products" through operations performed over Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.

The RAF deployed one of its Sentinels and supporting personnel to Dhakar in Senegal between January 2013 and late May, following a request from the French government for product from its dual synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indication sensor during its Serval operation.


"Sentinel enabled France to understand the behaviour of the militants, and supported the movement of its troops on the ground," he says. Offering such a system to support future multinational operations via the AGS programme framework would benefit the UK, he believes, as it could be "flexed from NATO to national operations, as required".


A formal decision on whether to retain the Sentinel capability will be made as part of the UK's next SDSR process, which is due to report its findings in 2015.


Approved late last year, the AGS programme's scope was reduced over several years, due to cost constraints, eventually settling on a deal for five radar-equipped Block 40 Global Hawks, to achieve initial operating capability during 2016.


Meanwhile, Dalton says the UK needs to invest in technologies to enable its future remotely piloted air systems to be capable of operating in contested airspace. He also notes that such equipment - as with the RAF's General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Reapers now used in Afghanistan - will be operated following "the same legal and ethical framework" as its manned combat aircraft.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 06:50
EuroHawk: Implications for Germany and NATO

June 5, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: International Relations and Security Network; issued June 3, 2013)


The End of the German Euro Hawk Programme – The Implications for Germany and NATO


Germany’s decision to cancel its purchase of Euro Hawk UAVs has turned into a major political scandal for the Merkel government. Justyna Gotkowska warns that it may also have serious consequences for NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.



On 14 May, the German Ministry of Defence announced it would be withdrawing from the planned purchased of the Euro Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles. The reasons given for this were the difficulties and high costs of introducing the system to general air traffic in Germany and Europe.


Germany abandoning one of its largest armament programmes has turned into an unprecedented scandal over the procurement of armament and military equipment in Germany. This concerns both the costs incurred (between 600 and 800 million euros) and the manner in which the programme was being run by the Ministry of Defence. The opposition is capitalising on this scandal in the run up to the election to the Bundestag scheduled for September 2013. Dismissals at the German Ministry of Defence should not be ruled out, either.


The scandal may also have adverse consequences for one of NATO’s most important programmes, Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS). This may lead to further delays in the implementation of the programme and an increase in costs resulting from the adjustment of the commissioned system to new European regulations.


The German Euro Hawk programme


Euro Hawk was one of Germany’s largest armament programmes over the past few years and was one of the flagships of German-US armament co-operation programmes. As part of this programme, whose estimated cost was approximately 1.3 billion euros, Germany was to buy five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Euro Hawk was to be used for signals intelligence (SIGINT). As an unmanned HALE (high altitude long-endurance) system it was supposed to be able to carry out surveillance missions over large spaces at a flight level of up to 18 km (above commercial aircraft flights) and with a flight duration of up to approximately 30 hours. The Euro Hawk programme was initiated in 2001 by the SPD/Green Party government. The contract for the development of the Euro Hawk system was signed in 2007 by the CDU/CSU/SPD government, Germany received the prototype in July 2011 during the present CDU/CSU/FDP coalition.


The construction of the Euro Hawk is based on the Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 20 produced by the US company Northrop Grumman. The Euro/Global Hawk (length: 14.5 m, wingspan: 40 m) is currently among the world’s largest military UAVs. The construction of the Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 20 was adjusted to meet the German needs. The UAV was equipped with SIGINT sensors manufactured by Germany’s Cassidian, part of EADS company. The costs of the prototype, including SIGINT sensors, and of testing it since July 2011 and the costs of adjusting the Jagel military airbase probably reached between 600 and 800 million euros (according to some estimates, this figure reached 1 billion euros).


In mid-May this year, the German Ministry of Defence announced it would be entirely withdrawing from the Euro Hawk programme, i.e. the purchase of the remaining four UAVs and the operational use of the prototype. The reasons given for this decision included great difficulties and enormous additional costs (500–600 million euros) linked to the procedure of admitting the UAV for use in German general airspace outside the segregated airspace (i.e. strictly defined areas). This will be necessary if this kind of UAV is to be used in Germany (and in Europe) due to the fact that German (and European) airspace is used intensely.


According to information from the German MoD, the problems concerned lacks in the technical documentation provided by the US company. The press reported that there were probably also some technical problems with the prototype, namely problems maintaining contact between the UAV and the ground control station, as well as Northrop Grumman’s unwillingness to provide sensitive technical data and the lack of an automatic anti-collision system.


The end of the Euro Hawk programme - the consequences for Germany


The winding up of the Euro Hawk programme due to difficulties with admitting its use in general air traffic has provoked one of the biggest scandals of the past few years in the field of armament and military equipment procurement in Germany. The costs incurred and the procedures applied and also the manner in which the programme had been organised by the German Ministry of Defence have caused outrage among the general public.


Firstly, the ministry paid a huge price for the construction of a prototype, probably without having reserved the right to recoup at least part of the money, due to the provisions of the contract signed with the Euro Hawk consortium (formed by Northrop Grumman and Cassidian). Furthermore, given its desire to use the SIGINT sensors, which were developed for the Euro Hawk system, the ministry must buy new platforms (most likely, manned aircraft).


Secondly, information on possible problems with Euro Hawk being admitted to use in the general airspace was probably available already before the contract concerning the prototype development was signed, and at least since 2011. Nevertheless, this did not lead either to the programme being interrupted or to the contract with the consortium being amended.


Thirdly, due to the contract provisions which guaranteed Northrop Grumman the right to refuse to disclose information to any third parties, the Ministry of Defence restricted the Bundesrechnungshof (the Federal Court of Auditors) access to part of the programme’s documentation. It thus prevented a financial audit of the programme, which is contrary to German law.


Although all German governments since 2001 have been involved in the development of the programme, starting with the SPD/Green Party coalition, the responsibility for the scandal over the Euro Hawk programme is pinned primarily on the present defence minister, Thomas de Maiziere (CDU). Until recently, he had the reputation of being one of the best ministers in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet. The opposition has been capitalising on this issue in their campaign ahead of the election to the Bundestag. Dismissals at the Ministry of Defence cannot be ruled out, either.


The consequences for NATO’s AGS programme


Germany’s withdrawal from the Euro Hawk programme due to problems with UAVs being admitted to general air traffic may also have implications for NATO and one of its most important programmes, Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS).


The goal of the AGS programme is to enable NATO to conduct airborne surveillance operations, such as detecting and tracking stationary and moving objects in real time in any weather conditions. The AGS system will consists of five Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 40 and ground control station based in Sicily, Italy. According to the schedule, the system will achieve operational capability in 2015–2017. Fourteen countries, including Germany participate in the AGS programme, the estimated cost of which is 1.3 billion euros (Poland is planning to re-join it). The German contribution is 483 million euros. Germany also planned (no contracts have been signed as yet) to buy an additional four Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 40 with similar capabilities to NATO’s AGS.


After the cancellation of the Euro Hawk programme questions have appeared in discussions in Germany as to the possible problems Global Hawk system could have with gaining access to general airspace in Italy (certification of NATO’s Global Hawks) and in Germany (certification of the German Global Hawks). Furthermore, no uniform European legal regulations exist concerning the use of military UAVs in European general airspace. The first steps have been taken in this direction. So far, there is only one document which provides non-binding guidelines from the EUROCONTROL organisation which defines the minimum requirements, rules and criteria for flights of UAVs, including the Global Hawk system. Pursuant to this document, they should meet the same safety criteria as those applicable to manned aircraft.


As a consequence of the Euro Hawk scandal, those German politicians who deal with military issues – from the opposition (the SPD and the Green Party) and the government coalition (the FDP and even CDU) alike, are insisting that funding be withdrawn from all programmes involving UAVs. This concerns both the German contribution to the AGS programme and the German MoD’s plans to buy a further four Global Hawks.


Firstly, until it becomes clear whether the UAVs will be admitted to use in general airspace in Germany. Secondly, until European regulations concerning the use of UAVs in general airspace in Europe are introduced.


If the current or future German government backs these demands, this may spell a further delay in the process to achieve operational capability for NATO’s AGS system and perhaps also an increase in the costs due to the possible need to adjust the system to new European regulations.

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27 mai 2013 1 27 /05 /mai /2013 18:20
NATO’s Global Hawks Unaffected by EuroHawk

May 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; published May 24, 2013)


NATO Drone Project Set to Continue


Pulling the plug on Germany's Euro Hawk project won't have consequences for NATO's surveillance program using "Global Hawk" models. But critics argue a joint European drone project would have been better.


The canceled German Euro Hawk drone project will most likely not have consequences on a similar project by NATO. The alliance plans to use five drones of the Global Hawk Block 40 type for its "Alliance Ground Surveillance" (AGS) system.


According to NATO, plans will not be affected by the German decision. The Global Hawk drone built by US company Northrop Grumman is basically the version the system's based on - the Euro Hawk drone Germany ordered is a modified version of the Global Hawk 20 model, an earlier version of the Global Hawk 40 which NATO now plans to use.


Exact images from far away


At the May 2012 summit in Chicago, the allies had agreed on aquiring unarmed surveillance drones. They are scheduled to be used by 2017 and to be stationed in Sicily. Estimates put the cost for the five drones at around 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).


Fourteen NATO states are involved: Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the US. The Global Hawk drone could fly as high as 20 kilometers (12 miles) and is able to take clear pictures of the ground even from such heights - precise enough to still spot individuals.


No European project?


The NATO project is going to continue despite the German decision to halt its program. But the situation in Germany has been met with criticism in Brussels. Michael Gahler, security spokesman of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) in the EU parliament, told DW that Germany should rather have pushed for a European solution than trying to go it alone.


After all, European countries were facing the same security threats, and every state had too little money to develop a system on its own.


"Such projects are very good examples of how such things can be done in a joint effort - especially when something new is being developed. I hope that everybody will learn from that mistake," he said.


Gahler believes a European project would have made more sense from an economic perspective as well.


"You can't see this simply as a military issue. Those drones are first and foremost not a means of fighting." In about 90 percent of the cases, they would "be used in a civilian manner for surveillance," for instance in agriculture or forestry in order to spot pollution or fires. With that many areas of use, "it really makes sense to bundle civilian and military resources."


Northrop Grumman dismisses criticism


The US company producing the drones has come forward to defend itself against German complaints. Berlin had criticized an allegedly missing feature to avoid collisions and lacking documentation needed for getting the drones approved for European airspace.



A Northrop Grumman spokesperson told German weekly "Die Zeit" that Germany had in fact never specified what kind of papers were needed for approval and that it was only a prototype that operated without collision protection. That feature would have been implemented in the four other drones Germany had ordered, the company said.

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8 mai 2013 3 08 /05 /mai /2013 12:50
Poland rejoins NATO AGS programme

17 Apr 2013 By:   Bartosz Glowacki – FG


Warsaw - Poland has confirmed its intention to formally rejoin NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme as a core nation, with the alliance's managing organisation now preparing the relevant documents for its reinclusion.


Warsaw was involved in the early stage of the AGS project, but in early 2009 decided to leave the collaborative effort, citing financial problems.


Announcing its decision following a 21 March meeting, Poland's defence ministry says: "Joining AGS will be very significant for increasing Poland's meaning and strengthening its position in NATO structures."


It expects to re-enter the programme in early 2014, contributing 4.5% of the total AGS funds, or roughly €71 million ($93 million) until 2017.


Polish companies including Bumar Elektronika, Netline, Transbit and Wojskowy Instytut Lacznosci are expected to participate in the programme, providing radar equipment, component manufacturing and maintenance activities.

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9 janvier 2013 3 09 /01 /janvier /2013 12:20

RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 - Northrop Grumman


January 08, 2013 by General Dynamics Canada


General Dynamics Canada has been awarded a CA$32m contract by Northrop Grumman Corporation for key communications network technology for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.


Under this contract, General Dynamics Canada will provide the software that will control the AGS Communications Ground Control System (CGCS). The CGCS will manage radio and satellite communications between Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the main operating base in Sigonella, Italy.


General Dynamics Canada will also deliver ruggedized computer workstations and the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) intercom systems that will enable communications between operators at the operating base and with mobile command centers. In addition, the company will provide engineering support for the integration of its software and systems at Northrop Grumman's facilities in the US, and at the main operating base in Italy.


"This contract highlights the capabilities of the world-leading communication solutions we have developed through many years of innovation in airborne ISR systems," said David Ibbetson, general manager for General Dynamics Canada.


"It showcases Canadian technology that we have successfully deployed on the CP-140 Aurora as part of the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project, and on the CH148 Cyclone as part of the Maritime Helicopter Program. At the same time, it provides us with the opportunity to leverage the experience and expertise of the highly skilled employees at our facilities across Canada.


"As important, the key technologies being provided by General Dynamics Canada will be available for future UAV-based programs in Canada, such as the Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System and the Mercury Global Wideband Global Satellite communications system."


Dan Chang, Northrop Grumman vice president and program manager of the NATO AGS program, said: "This is another example of how Northrop Grumman is leveraging national investments already made in the NATO AGS program to benefit the entire alliance.


"We look forward to working with General Dynamics Canada on this program to deliver this critical capability to NATO."


The NATO AGS program, led by Northrop Grumman, is a major international procurement initiative to establish an airborne ground surveillance system, which can provide NATO commanders with a comprehensive picture of activity on the ground. It includes five Northrop Grumman high-altitude, long endurance Global Hawk UAVs, missionized to NATO requirements; mobile ground command and control vehicles; as well as associated command and control base stations. Once deployed, the AGS system will enable NATO and its coalition partners to gather intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to support military and humanitarian operations.


With its main operating base at Sigonella, NATO AGS will be co-located with the US Air Force Global Hawks and the US Navy MQ-4C Triton (BAMS) Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aircraft systems, further advancing synergies across the three programs in operational capability, lifecycle logistics and sustainment.


Development and production of the AGS program is expected to take place over the next three years, with initial operation scheduled for November 2016. General Dynamics Canada will continue to provide in-service support for the system beyond 2016.

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30 octobre 2012 2 30 /10 /octobre /2012 11:20
Secret Report Criticizes NATO’s Command in Libya

Oct. 28, 2012 - By GERARD O’DWYER Defense News


HELSINKI — The accidental release of a Danish Defense Forces’ (DDF) report critical of NATO’s command structures and inability to direct bombing missions in Libya in 2011 has provoked political controversy, after it emerged the Danish Air Force bought munitions from Israel.


The Defence Forces has confirmed it will revamp its information-handling systems after a highly classified and confidential “Libya Mission” report was released Oct. 10 as a PDF file, in error, to the Danish media organization Politiken. Politiken had earlier filed a request under the country’s Freedom of Information Act for details about Danish operations as part of the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector.


“The report is both embarrassing and revealing on several fronts,” said Holger Nielsen, defense spokesman for the Socialist People’s Party, one of three parties in Denmark’s ruling center-left administration. “The depth of the Danish military’s criticism of how NATO handled operations in Libya was not known to this extent, and that the Air Force bought munitions from Israel to bomb an Arab-world country was certainly not generally known by the government of the day.”


The Libya Mission report, produced by the Air Force’s Tactical Command (FTK) unit, criticizes NATO for being unable to provide reliable intelligence on targets or to conduct bombing raids. The lack of adequate intelligence and mission coordination by NATO forced the Air Force and other participants to curtail operations against key targets, according to the report. It also states that NATO was unable to provide accurate assessments of collateral damage inflicted on the civilian population, forcing the Air Force to curb the number and scale of its missions.


“NATO’s command structure was not organized to lead an operation such as Operation Unified Protector when operations in Libya started,” the FTK report claims.


The report notes that the Air Force’s squadron of F-16 fighters had operated under U.S. command in the lead-in phase of the Libya campaign, but came under NATO’s command in April 2011. The change greatly reduced the quality and effectiveness of mission planning and execution.


“Unlike the U.S., NATO did not have adequate access to tactical intelligence to support the operation,” the report states.


Libya will be a learning experience for NATO on how to better manage missions requiring a high level of intelligence gathering and multiforce coordination, Danish defense analyst Sten Rynning said.


“The main lesson to be learned by NATO is its need to employ its own intelligence-gathering systems to ensure the success of missions like Libya, which was largely run without the United States,” Rynning said. “Until it does, NATO’s mission command capability will be limited.”


The shortcomings identified in the Danish report will be addressed as part of NATO’s Smart Defense project and redesigned command structure, NATO spokesman Jonas Torp said.


“Issues we plan to deal with include the stockpiling of sufficient precision munitions by partner nations,” he said. “We will strengthen the capacity of the Sigonella military base in Italy to beef up reconnaissance and surveillance. To this end, we are investing in a fleet of five unarmed drones under the Alliance Ground Surveillance, or AGS project. The new measures will also include an enhanced focus on airborne warning and control systems and the European air refueling project.”


The NATO-European Union cooperation project includes sharing existing aircraft assets, or acquisition of new planes to boost aerial refueling capability by 2020.


NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Oct. 24 that the alliance welcomed the report’s critical insights.


“Within the ongoing reform of our command structure, we have already taken steps to strengthen our air operations command,” he said.


Rasmussen conceded that without U.S. intelligence-gathering systems, NATO would not have been able to complete its mission in Libya. But he described the final outcome of Unified Protector as a “great success.”


Bombs From Israel


Denmark’s defense chief, Gen. Peter Bertram, defended the decision to buy precision bombs from Israel. The Air Force’s own stockpile of weapons had been quickly depleted after weeks of air strikes, he said.


The Air Force attempted to buy munitions from NATO allies, but no NATO country was in a position to supply. Deliveries were then negotiated with Israel.


“It is not the task of the military to carry out foreign policy,” he said. “What we do with other countries is approved at the political level. A fighter is not just a fighter. There are different configurations. And not all countries have precisely the type of ammunition relevant to Danish aircraft.”


Former Defense Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech denied any knowledge of the purchase.


“I was very aware that the Danish F-16 squadron lacked munitions, and I gave the green light to acquire munitions from the Netherlands and Poland, but I never heard anything about Israel in that connection. Nothing at all,” Bech said.

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26 octobre 2012 5 26 /10 /octobre /2012 07:20

RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 - Northrop Grumman


October 25, 2012 LtCol Jacek Sonta / Press spokesman for MOD - defpro.com


Polish Minister of National Defence Tomasz Siemoniak declared Poland's participation in AGS - NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system at NATO ministerial in Brussels in October.

Application dated October 19 on joining the system by Poland is a result of the decision of Minister of National Defence and an announcement of Polish President during NATO summit in Chicago this year, during which AGS program was included in Defence Package.
AGS is one of the flagship initiatives of NATO. It has a key meaning for transformation of the Alliance and for development of its defence capabilities up to 2020. Realisation of the Defence Package guarantees reaching the capabilities necessary for accomplishing tasks set in Strategic Concept from 2010 including task of collective defence (article 5 of Washington Treaty).

AGS Program is an example of multinational engagement of NATO member states in developed at present Smart Defence initiative.
From Poland's point of view joining AGS Program will be very significant for increasing its meaning and strengthening its position in NATO structures. We will be among 14 NATO states building capabilities within that system and at the same time we gain possibility to strengthen cooperation with countries leading in modern technologies.

Moreover, participation in AGS will enable Polish Armed Forces to complement military capabilities of conducting image reconnaissance and will allow to use it in the future for realisation of national needs or in allied cooperation e.g. during joint exercises.

The AGS Core will be an integrated system consisting of an air segment and a ground segment. Reaching operational readiness is initially planned for 2015. At the moment 13 countries participate in the program: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Germany, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA and Italy. Canada and Denmark submitted their declarations too.

For more information, please go to http://www.nagsma.nato.int/Pages/AGS_General_Information.aspx

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24 octobre 2012 3 24 /10 /octobre /2012 16:20

RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 - Northrop Grumman


2012-10-24 LtCol Jacek Sońta  / Press spokesman for MOD


Minister of National Defence Tomasz Siemoniak declared Poland's participation in AGS - NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system at NATO ministerial in Brussels in October.


Application dated October 19 on joining the system by Poland is a result of the decision of Minister of National Defence and an announcement of Polish President during NATO summit in Chicago this year, during which AGS program was included in Defence Package.


AGS is one of the flagship initiatives of NATO. It has a key meaning for transformation of the Alliance and for development of its defence capabilities up to 2020. Realisation of the Defence Package guarantees reaching the capabilities necessary for accomplishing tasks set in Strategic Concept from 2010 including task of collective defence (article 5 of Washington Treaty).


AGS Program is an example of multinational engagement of NATO member states in developed at present Smart Defence initiative.


From Poland's point of view joining AGS Program will be very significant for increasing its meaning and strengthening its position in NATO structures. We will be among 14 NATO states building capabilities within that system and at the same time we gain possibility to strengthen cooperation with countries leading in modern technologies.


Moreover, participation in AGS will enable Polish Armed Forces to complement military capabilities of conducting image reconnaissance and will allow to use it in the future for realisation of national needs or in allied cooperation e.g. during joint exercises.


* * *


The AGS Core will be an integrated system consisting of an air segment and a ground segment. Reaching operational readiness is initially planned for 2015. At the moment 13 countries participate in the program: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Germany, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA and Italy. Canada and Denmark submitted their declarations too.

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15 juillet 2012 7 15 /07 /juillet /2012 11:30



July 13, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: SES; issued July 13, 2012)


SES Cooperates with Northrop Grumman on New NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance System


LUXEMBOURG --- SES announced today an agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) to supply satellite capacity and services for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system. Operating under NATO command, AGS will be a major data source for NATO's system for Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR).


AGS supports NATO's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements and a broad range of missions, including protecting ground forces, border and maritime security, counter- and anti-terrorism, crisis management, peacekeeping and enforcement, humanitarian assistance and natural disaster relief. SES will deliver Ku-band capacity over the U.S. and Europe, as well as engineering support in the design and development of the system.


As prime contractor for the NATO AGS programme, Northrop Grumman will provide the necessary five Global Hawk air vehicles, supporting systems and payloads. The payloads include the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) radar system capable of detecting and tracking moving objects as well as providing radar imagery of target locations and stationary objects.


Northrop Grumman signed a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract with NATO and 13 participating nations in May 2012. Besides the air segment, the contract also includes the purchase, initial operation and maintenance of the ground stations, comprised of mobile and transportable units and providing real-time data, intelligence and target identification to commanders within and beyond line of sight.


“The participation of SES in this multi-national, long-term NATO programme is extremely important for us, as it allows us to contribute our fleet and service capabilities and prove the advantages and know-how that we have in the construction and operation of large, international governmental and institutional systems,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “We are honoured to meet the alliance’s highest standards and needs, demonstrating our expertise in the highly demanding field of service provision for unmanned aircraft systems with our specialised and highly committed governmental and institutions team at SES.”


SES is a world-leading satellite operator with a fleet of 51 geostationary satellites. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators and business and governmental organisations worldwide.

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11 juillet 2012 3 11 /07 /juillet /2012 17:30



July 11, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Finmeccanica; issued July 10, 2012)


Finmeccanica Wins New Order Worth EUR 140 Million As Part of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Programme


SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica company, has been awarded a contract worth €140 million by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation as part of NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme.


The AGS programme is the flagship of NATO’s new defence strategy for security allies. Thirteen NATO countries are participating in the programme via their domestic industries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States. The capability developed and acquired by this group of nations will be made available to the whole alliance as a NATO-owned capability, with NATO responsible for the system’s operations and maintenance.


SELEX Galileo has been awarded approximately 12 percent of Northrop Grumman’s overall NATO AGS contract. This will see the company leading the Italian element of the programme and also taking responsibility for Romanian and Bulgarian participation.


Interoperability, connectivity and continuous surveillance are the three key concepts of the AGS system capability, which will supply real-time information for airborne ground surveillance and situational awareness. This valuable intelligence will support the entire spectrum of NATO’s operational missions and those of its member nations.


The solution chosen by NATO includes an airborne component based on the Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAS platform produced by Northrop Grumman Corporation and ground-based elements comprised of fixed mission operational support as well as both transportable and mobile general ground stations. The ground-based parts of the system will deliver mission planning and control activities and data analysis and distribution. The system architecture also comprises training and logistical support elements.


SELEX Galileo will be responsible for the fixed mission operational support and transportable general ground station components of the AGS system’s ground-based element. It will also contribute to the telecommunications suite, supplying the wide band data link produced by SELEX Elsag, another Finmeccanica company. This solution will provide a line-of-sight link between the AGS airborne platform and the ground-based components.

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22 mai 2012 2 22 /05 /mai /2012 16:35
NATO Projects Aim to Fill European Defense Gaps


May. 20, 2012 By KATE BRANNEN  Defense news


CHICAGO — NATO leaders are expected to unveil several new multinational projects at its summit here this weekend aimed at better integrating European defense planning and capabilities.


The goal is to counter the continued decline of European defense budgets and financial contributions to NATO, a situation made worse by the ongoing sovereign debt crisis.


Europeans realize that they’re not going to have more defense resources, but they’ve got to do better with what they have, Stephen Flanagan, a defense and security analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said.


“Our European allies are still spending an enormous amount of money on defense, but they don’t spend it very wisely and there is a lot of redundancy. For $282 billion last year, NATO Europe should be able to get a lot more out of that than it does.”


At the Chicago summit, NATO will build upon its “Smart Defense” initiative, which encourages countries to coordinate their defense planning, paying close attention to where others are making budget cuts so as not to lose certain capabilities completely.


Three flagship projects — missile defense, Baltic air policing and Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) — will be highlighted.


On missile defense, NATO is expected to announce an interim capability for a new missile defense shield. The planned purchase of five Global Hawk surveillance UAVs as part of the AGS project was announced in February.


In addition to these announcements, NATO is expected to unveil a package of more than 20 multinational projects that aim to fill capability gaps.


Whether these projects will help Europe shore up its defense capabilities remains to be seen, but observers will be watching the summit for clues.


“What I would watch is what’s the balance between rhetoric and practical projects,” said Ian Brzezinski, an Atlantic Council senior fellow who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO Policy from 2001 to 2005.


“There is a tendency in the alliance to focus on vision statements and plans that are 10 years out. They sound good, they make you feel good and you don’t have to do anything about them for several years,” Brzezinski said.


While the three big-ticket items are important, they are either long-term projects or, in the case of Baltic air policing, something NATO has been doing for some time, Brzezinski said.


“NATO publics need to see an alliance that’s credible and they’re not going to find as persuasive 10-year visions as they will practical projects that can be accomplished tomorrow,” Brzezinski said.


For this reason, he said he’d like to see greater emphasis placed on the less glamorous, but more practical projects, which include joint procurement of armored ambulances and communications equipment, the establishment of joint logistics hubs for armored personnel carriers, and joint training facilities.

Measured Expectations


While some NATO watchers would like to see more dramatic statements of commitment come out of Chicago, most expectations remain modest.


The Obama administration is hoping for few surprises, said Mark Jacobson, who served from 2009 to 2011 at the NATO International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul. “The idea is: ‘Let’s get through this and push things along.’”


Unlike the last summit in Lisbon in 2010, Chicago is not “an ideas summit,” Jacobson said.


The 2012 summit also is not about inviting new countries to join NATO, such as the 2008 summit in Bucharest.


However, while it may have started out as simply an “implementation summit,” a time for leaders to take stock of progress and chart out near-term plans, the Chicago summit is shaping into something a little more.


There is awareness that given the recent changes in the world, from the Arab Spring to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, that NATO has to take these changes into account as it considers its future, Flanagan said


Brzezinski said he viewed the summit as an important opportunity for the United States and Europe to reaffirm their commitments to each other.


He said he is troubled by what he sees as disengagement on both sides of the Atlantic: the United States looking to Asia and Europe looking inward.


“If the Europeans don’t sign on for a serious plan for sustaining their defense commitment in tight fiscal times, and if it seems as if the alliance is running for the exits in Afghanistan, then it is going to have damaging consequences for the alliance,” Flanagan said.


However, it will bode well if the basic transition timetable in Afghanistan is reaffirmed and countries make a good faith effort on Smart Defense, making it more than just a passing slogan, he said.

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21 mai 2012 1 21 /05 /mai /2012 17:50
Déclaration du sommet sur les capacités de défense pour les forces de l'OTAN à l'horizon 2020


21/05/2012 OTAN Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord


1.En tant que dirigeants de l'Alliance, nous sommes résolus à faire en sorte que l'OTAN conserve et développe les capacités qui lui sont nécessaires pour exécuter ses tâches fondamentales essentielles - défense collective, gestion de crise et sécurité coopérative - et, partant, pour jouer un rôle clé dans la promotion de la sécurité dans le monde. Nous devons assumer cette responsabilité alors que nous sommes aux prises avec une crise financière grave et que nous sommes confrontés à des défis géostratégiques en constante évolution. L'OTAN nous permet d'assurer un niveau de sécurité plus élevé que celui que pourrait atteindre un Allié qui agirait isolément. Nous réaffirmons l'importance que continuent d'avoir un lien transatlantique fort et la solidarité au sein de l'Alliance, ainsi que l'importance d'un partage des responsabilités, des rôles et des risques pour permettre aux Alliés nord-américains et européens de relever ensemble les défis auxquels ils sont confrontés. Nous reconnaissons l'importance d'une défense européenne plus forte et plus performante, et nous saluons les efforts déployés par l'Union européenne pour renforcer ses capacités à faire face aux défis de sécurité communs. Ces efforts constituent, par leur nature même, une contribution importante au lien transatlantique.



2.Le potentiel de l'OTAN réside dans les forces de ses pays membres - leur entraînement, leurs équipements, leur interopérabilité et leur expérience - rassemblées sous la structure de commandement intégrée qui est la nôtre et dirigées par cette dernière. Les succès que nos forces ont remportés en Libye, en Afghanistan, dans les Balkans et dans la lutte contre la piraterie sont autant d'exemples évidents de ce que l'OTAN demeure inégalée dans son aptitude à déployer et à maintenir une puissance militaire afin de sauvegarder la sécurité de nos populations et de contribuer à la paix et à la sécurité internationales.



3.Ces succès sont le résultat de plus de soixante années d'étroite coopération dans le domaine de la défense. En oeuvrant ensemble au sein de l'OTAN, nous sommes mieux en mesure d'assurer la sécurité de nos concitoyens - et avec bien plus d'efficacité et d'efficience - que nous ne pourrions le faire en agissant isolément.



4.Nous avons déjà accompli des progrès concrets depuis notre dernier sommet et l'adoption d'un nouveau concept stratégique, à Lisbonne, pour veiller à ce que l'OTAN dispose des capacités dont elle a besoin pour défendre les citoyens de ses pays, pour mener des opérations de gestion de crise et pour promouvoir la sécurité coopérative. Entre autres réalisations importantes :

nous avons aujourd'hui déclaré une capacité intérimaire de défense antimissile balistique, première étape de la mise en place d'un système de défense antimissile de l'OTAN qui protégera le territoire, la population, et les forces de tous les pays européens membres de l'Alliance contre les menaces croissantes qu'engendre la prolifération des missiles balistiques, sur la base des principes de l'indivisibilité de la sécurité des Alliés et de la solidarité au sein de l'OTAN, du partage équitable des risques et des charges, compte tenu du niveau de la menace, de la soutenabilité financière et de la faisabilité technique ;

nous procédons au déploiement d'un système allié de surveillance terrestre (AGS) hautement sophistiqué, pour permettre à nos forces de mener de manière plus efficace, et plus sûre, les missions que nous leur confions ; à cet égard, un certain nombre d'Alliés ont lancé une importante initiative visant à améliorer, plus largement, le JISR (renseignement, surveillance et reconnaissance interarmées) ;

nous avons prolongé notre mission de police du ciel dans les États baltes. Cette mission ainsi que les autres arrangements au sein de l'Alliance concernant la police du ciel en Europe, dans le cadre desquels les Alliés coopèrent de façon à offrir sécurité et réassurance, sont des signes tangibles de la solidarité entre Alliés ;

nous mettons actuellement en place une nouvelle structure de commandement, allégée et plus efficace ;

nous progressons de manière régulière dans le développement d'un certain nombre de capacités dont nous avons estimé, à Lisbonne, qu'elles étaient indispensables au succès de nos opérations, notamment : amélioration de nos défenses contre les cyberattaques, élargissement du système de commandement et de contrôle aériens de l'OTAN, augmentation de nos capacités en Afghanistan pour l'échange de données ISR, et lutte contre les engins explosifs improvisés.



5.Forts de ces progrès, nous nous sommes fixés l'objectif « Forces de l'OTAN à l'horizon 2020 » : des forces modernes et étroitement interconnectées, équipées, formées, entraînées et commandées de manière à pouvoir opérer ensemble et avec des partenaires dans n'importe quel environnement.



6.Pour atteindre cet objectif, il sera indispensable d'améliorer la manière dont nous développons et mettons en place les capacités nécessaires à nos missions. À côté des efforts substantiels déployés au plan national et des formes éprouvées de coopération multinationale existantes, par exemple dans les domaines du transport aérien stratégique et des systèmes aéroportés de détection et de contrôle, nous devons trouver de nouvelles façons de coopérer plus étroitement pour acquérir et maintenir les capacités clés, pour définir ce dont nous avons prioritairement besoin et pour nous concerter sur les changements dans nos plans de défense. Nous devrions aussi approfondir les liens entre Alliés, ainsi qu'entre Alliés et partenaires, et ce dans l'intérêt de tous. Maintenir une industrie de défense forte en Europe et faire le meilleur usage qui soit du potentiel offert par la coopération industrielle de défense dans l'ensemble de l'Alliance demeurent une condition essentielle à la mise en place des capacités nécessaires à l'horizon 2020 et au-delà.



7.La défense intelligente est au coeur de cette nouvelle approche. Le développement et le déploiement de capacités de défense est d'abord et avant tout une responsabilité nationale. Toutefois, le coût de la technologie ne cessant de croître et les budgets de défense étant soumis à des restrictions, un grand nombre d'Alliés ne peuvent plus se doter de certaines capacités clés qu'à la condition de travailler ensemble à leur développement et à leur acquisition. Nous saluons donc les décisions prises par les Alliés de faire progresser certains projets multinationaux, visant notamment à améliorer la protection de nos forces, la surveillance et l'entraînement. Ces projets déboucheront sur une plus grande efficacité opérationnelle, des économies d'échelle et une interconnexion plus étroite de nos forces. Ils seront également source d'enseignements pour d'autres projets de défense intelligente à venir.



8.Mais la défense intelligente va plus loin. C'est aussi un changement de perspective, la possibilité de repenser la culture de la coopération pour accorder à la collaboration multinationale une importance nouvelle et en faire une option efficace et efficiente pour le développement de capacités critiques.



9.Le développement de capacités militaires européennes accrues resserrera le lien transatlantique, renforcera la sécurité de tous les Alliés et encouragera un partage équitable des charges, des avantages et des responsabilités entre les pays membres de l'Alliance. Dans ce contexte, l'OTAN coopérera étroitement avec l'Union européenne, comme convenu, pour faire en sorte que notre initiative de défense intelligente et l'initiative européenne de mutualisation et de partage (P&S) soient complémentaires et qu'elles se renforcent mutuellement ; nous saluons les efforts déployés par l'UE, en particulier dans les domaines du ravitaillement en vol, du soutien médical, de la surveillance maritime et de la formation. Nous saluons aussi les efforts accomplis au niveau national dans ces domaines et dans d'autres par les pays européens membres de l'Alliance et les pays partenaires. La réussite des activités que nous menons continuera de dépendre de la transparence et de l'ouverture entre nos deux organisations.



10.Nous prenons également des mesures pour améliorer les connexions entre nos forces, ainsi qu'avec les pays partenaires. Notre opération au-dessus de la Libye a démontré une fois de plus l'importance de ces connexions ; dès que la décision politique a été prise de lancer la mission OTAN, les pilotes de l'Alliance ont pris les airs ensemble, avec, à leurs côtés, les appareils de partenaires européens non membres de l'OTAN et de partenaires arabes. Cette façon de procéder a été déterminante dans le succès militaire et politique de cette mission.



11.Nous nous appuierons sur cette réussite, dans le cadre de l'initiative d'interconnexion des forces. Nous développerons la formation et l'entraînement de nos personnels militaires, en complément des efforts importants que déploient les pays dans ce domaine. Nous intensifierons nos exercices. Nous continuerons de resserrer les connexions entre nos réseaux. Nous renforcerons les liens entre la structure de commandement de l'OTAN, la structure de forces de l'OTAN et les états-majors des pays membres. Nous renforcerons aussi la coopération entre nos forces d'opérations spéciales, notamment au travers de l'État-major des opérations spéciales de l'OTAN. Nous ferons une utilisation plus intensive de la Force de réaction de l'OTAN, ce qui permettra à celle-ci de jouer un rôle plus grand dans le renforcement de l'aptitude des forces de l'Alliance à opérer ensemble et à contribuer à notre posture de dissuasion et de défense. Dans toute la mesure du possible, nous améliorerons aussi nos connexions avec les partenaires, pour que, lorsque nous le souhaiterons, nous puissions agir ensemble.



12.Si un travail important a été accompli depuis notre dernier sommet pour renforcer l'Alliance, et compte tenu du recours accru par de nombreux Alliés à la coopération et aux capacités multinationales, il reste beaucoup à faire. Ainsi, nous avons adopté un paquet « défense » qui nous aidera à développer et à mettre en place les capacités nécessaires à nos missions et à nos opérations. Nous continuerons de réformer nos structures et nos procédures afin de rechercher des gains d'efficience, notamment grâce à une meilleure utilisation de nos budgets.



13.La force majeure de l'OTAN est son unité. À l'horizon 2020 et au-delà, stimulés par la nécessité d'employer les ressources de défense de la façon la plus efficiente, nous renforcerons cette unité afin de maintenir et de moderniser la puissance militaire de l'OTAN.

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18 avril 2012 3 18 /04 /avril /2012 12:55
Canada’s Pullout from AWACS and NATO’s AGS. A Smart Move?



April 17, 2012. By David Pugliese - Defence Watch


The Canadian Forces hope to save at least $90-million a year by pulling out of NATO programs operating unmanned aerial vehicles as well as airborne early warning planes.


Defence Minister Peter MacKay gave U.S. officials a heads-up last year about the withdrawal, pointing out that it will free up 142 Canadians assigned to NATO for new jobs.


The shutdown of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s airborne warning aircraft, known as AWACS, will save about $50-million a year, according to DND records. Another $40-million a year will be saved as a result of Canada’s withdrawal from NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Program, which would see the purchase of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (latest generation Global Hawks) to conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering. Other DND documents Defence Watch has obtained indicate the savings could be higher than the $90 million. The move was conducted as part of the department’s contribution to the government’s Strategic Review.


Canada has been involved in NATO’s AWACS program for more than 25 years and the aircraft were seen as key to the alliance’s success during the recent war in Libya.


NATO also wants to ease the strain on the U.S. UAVs by having a pool of Global Hawks  at the alliance’s disposal.


Canada’s pull out from the UAV program will be done by the end of this month, the Defence Department told Defence Watch.


Do you think the pullout from AWACS and withdraw from AGS makes sense? There has been so much emphasis put on the importance of ISR collection in recent military operations, particularly during the Libyan war, that some officers have suggested to Defence Watch that this is a step in the wrong direction.

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16 février 2012 4 16 /02 /février /2012 13:00
NATO to spend 3.0 billion euros on drone program


Feb 15, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Brussels - NATO will spend 3.0 billion euros ($3.9 billion) to buy and operate five US-built drones over 20 years in an effort to fill a gap exposed in the Libyan air war, an official said Wednesday.


Allies will pay at least 1.0 billion euros to acquire the Global Hawk drones from Northrop Grumman, a price that includes ground support stations, image analysis technology and training for operators, the official said.


Operating the drones, which will be based at the NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily, will cost the alliance another 2.0 billion euros over the next two decades, the official said on condition of anonymity.


"Libya showed the importance of having such a capability," the official said.


While European air forces carried out the bulk of bombing missions in Libya last year, they relied heavily on drones provided by the United States to identify and hit targets during the campaign.


NATO defence ministers finally agreed on the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) after two decades of wrangling over its funding.


The drones are being purchased by 13 NATO nations: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States.


The aircraft will then be available to all 28 allies who will contribute to the cost of operating them. France and Britain will mostly contribute by providing their own surveillance aircraft to the programme.


NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has hailed the AGS programme as a prime example of the alliance's efforts to pool and share resources at a time of economic crisis chipping away at defence budgets.

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15 février 2012 3 15 /02 /février /2012 08:30
Canada Pulls Out of NATO’s AGS Project


Feb. 14, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Windsor Star; published Feb. 10, 2012)


Canada Backs Out of NATO Project


The Canadian government has withdrawn from a NATO surveillance project that would incorporate similar technology used in NATO's successful military operation in Libya.


"Canada is withdrawing from the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance program, with our full withdrawal to become effective in spring of 2012," said Kim Tulipan, spokeswoman for the Department of National Defence.


"NATO has been informed of these decisions. The details of our withdrawal are still under discussion with NATO," she said in an email to Postmedia News.


The Alliance Ground Surveillance System, which began in 1992, "will give commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground,"according to NATO's website. "NATO's operation to protect civilians in Libya showed how important such a capability is."


Under the program, 13 countries, including the U.S., Italy and Germany, will acquire five reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles, in addition to associated command and control base stations. The surveillance system will be available by 2015-2017.


NATO will operate the system on behalf of its 28 allies.


On Feb. 2, the North Atlantic Council decided to collectively cover the costs of operating the surveillance program as a "NATO-owned and operated capability," according to NATO's website.


The surveillance system's main operating base will be in Italy.

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7 février 2012 2 07 /02 /février /2012 08:40
NATO clears funding hurdle to buy five Global Hawks


Feb 6, 2012 by Stephen Trimble – Flight Global


Washington DC - NATO officials have cleared a key hurdle in a long-delayed process to buy five Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 unmanned air systems.


NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen provided no details of the arrangements in a 3 February press conference, but confirmed members "have found the way ahead on a practical funding solution" for the alliance ground surveillance (AGS) programme.


Funding and operational details have delayed a contract signing since October 2010, even as three of the original 15 AGS programme members - Canada, Denmark and Poland - have withdrawn from the programme.


Northrop officials have previously said Poland may rejoin the AGS partnership, but Rasmussen provided no details on the current members.


NATO's AGS fleet will comprise five radar-equipped Global Hawk Block 40s


Some NATO members have been seeking the AGS capability for about 20 years. The concept would allow a consortium of alliance members to contribute funding to operate the RQ-4s, with all allowed some level of access to the intelligence data gathered.


Northrop has proposed the RQ-4 Block 40, which includes a Northrop/Raytheon multiplatform radar technology insertion programme sensor that detects moving targets on the ground.


Once fielded, the system will perform a similar role as the US Air Force's Northrop E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system aircraft, although the RQ-4's sensor is not as large or powerful.

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5 février 2012 7 05 /02 /février /2012 08:15
Estonia Joins NATO Ground Surveillance Network


TALLINN, February 4 (RIA Novosti)


Estonia will be part of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) project, the country’s Defense Ministry said.


The North Atlantic Council decided on February 2 to collectively cover the costs for operating the AGS network as a NATO-owned and operated capability.


The AGS will be acquired by 13 Allies (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States), and will be made available to the Alliance in 2015-2017.


The network will include five U.S.-made Global Hawk RQ-4B reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the associated command and control base stations.


“The AGS core capability will enable the Alliance to perform persistent surveillance over wide areas from high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aerial platforms operating at considerable stand-off distances and in any weather or light condition,” NATO said.


The main operating base for AGS will be located at Sigonella Air Base in Italy.

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3 février 2012 5 03 /02 /février /2012 18:25
NATO to Acquire Unmanned Aircraft

Feb. 3, 2012 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Norwegian Ministry of Defence; issued Feb. 3, 2012)
(Issued in Norwegian only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)

NATO Defence ministers have made a very important decision to acquire unmanned aircraft for surveillance of land and oceans - NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS).

“Common solutions have tied NATO together for over 60 years and give the nations of the Alliance access to strategic capabilities that are disproportionately expensive to acquire alone. This decision is therefore a very good example of why it is important for Norway to join the NATO,” says Norwegian Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide.

It is important that the Alliance has real time information about the situation on the ground and at sea. AGS will give NATO the ability to monitor large areas from high altitude, long range under all weather and lighting conditions. The monitoring is done with unmanned aircraft of the type of the Global Hawk, which has a range of 16,000 kilometers and can fly at altitudes up to 60,000 feet. The aircraft will be controlled from a ground station in Italy.

“NATO nations show, with this decision, that there is a political will to work together to invest in public safety, despite the difficult economic situation that affects many countries,” said Minister of Defence Espen Barth Eide.

Norway's share of the investment is estimated at 320 million. The acquisition will also provide contracts for Norwegian industry.

NATO will own and operate the unmanned surveillance aircraft. In addition, to meeting military surveillance needs, the aircraft will have the capacity to contribute to the monitoring of large ocean areas, transportation routes, oil and gas installations and environmental monitoring. This is a capacity that will also be suitable in the far North.

It is expected that the aircraft will be operational in 2017.

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20 janvier 2012 5 20 /01 /janvier /2012 13:35
NATO to sign delayed AGS deal by May

Nato AGS – photo Northrop Grumman

January 20th, 2012 by Craig Hoyle - Flight Global

London - NATO's long-running process to order an Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability could at last achieve a contract signature within the next few months, although the scale of its programme appears to have again been revised.

"We have the contract, and it's under negotiation," said US Air Force Maj Gen Steve Schmidt, commander of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force. A 13-nation deal should be signed before the next NATO summit, in Chicago from 20-21 May, he added.

"I fully expect to see the announcement that NATO has purchased AGS by that summit," Schmidt told the AEW and Battle Management conference in London on 17 January.

Schmidt valued the pending acquisition at about €1 billion ($1.3 billion) for five Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 unmanned air vehicles, each equipped with a Northrop/Raytheon surveillance payload. An associated 20-year operational support package is expected to total a further €2.2 billion, he added.

This assessment contrasts with a previous plan, which had called for the purchase of six Global Hawks, to be operated from NAS Sigonella in Sicily from later this decade. Northrop officials last October said a deal was expected to be signed in early November 2011.

Although NATO was able to access information from a USAF Global Hawk that flew a limited number of sorties during last year's Libya campaign, Schmidt said the availability of an Alliance-owned fleet "would have been a game-changer" during the seven months of Operation Unified Protector.

Beyond its application during such coalition operations in the future, Schmidt said additional uses for the AGS fleet would include crisis management and cooperative security tasks.

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19 août 2011 5 19 /08 /août /2011 05:30


NATO AGS - photo Northrop Grumman


18/08/11 By Stephen Trimble SOURCE:Flight Daily News


Canada has become the second country to withdraw from the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 alliance ground surveillance (AGS) program, but the remaining NATO partners are "very close" to signing a contract, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.


The decision means AGS will lose another source of funding that must be compensated for by the 13 NATO members still committed.


In June, Canadian TV broadcaster CBC reported that Canada also is withdrawing from the NATO partnership operating the E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS).


The AGS program had lost another key partner last June. Denmark also decided to withdraw from the partnership acquiring a six-aircraft RQ-4 fleet in June 2010.


Meanwhile, Northrop and NATO officials are likely to sign a contract to launch the development phase of the AGS programme within several days. The contract award may still have to be approved by each of the national partners before it becomes official.


Previously, Northrop officials had predicted that the long-awaited contract award milestone might not be reached around October.


Northrop is offering to deliver six RQ-4 air vehicles configured with the US Air Force's Block 40 equipment, which includes a wide area surveillance sensor called the Northrop/Raytheon multi-platform radar technology insertion program. It will perform the same role as the USAF E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system.


European partners, including EADS, will supply mobile ground control stations for the NATO RQ-4 fleet, which will be based at Sigonella AB, Sicily.

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17 juin 2011 5 17 /06 /juin /2011 07:55



June 16, 2011 Andrew White, SHEPARD GROUP


Brussels –  NATO is threatened with a substantial shortfall in airborne surveillance should the UK retire its Sentinel Airborne Stand-Off Reconnaissance (ASTOR) fleet in 2013, a senior officer in the organisation has warned.


Referring to the forthcoming Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme which is due to come into service in 2015, Col Matt Anderer USAF, Force Command Requirements at Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe said NATO's airborne surveillance capabilities were currently 'stretched' and 'heavily tasked'.


Speaking at the UV Europe conference in Brussels, Anderer warned that such a shortfall would be exacerbated should the UK scrap the Sentinel as outlined in October's Strategic Defence and Security Review. The Royal Air Force (RAF) has already lost its Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft programme as part of the same review.


The Ministry of Defence said Raytheon’s ASTOR system could be ‘withdrawn once it is no longer required to support operations in Afghanistan’. Two Sentinel R Mk I aircraft are regularly contributing to coalition operations in Afghanistan on a daily basis.


'AGS is one of the alliance's most pressing capability needs. Now, we only have this capability from two [UK and US] alliance members. Assets are heavily tasked and very scarce resources and this will be even more if the UK retires the Sentinel fleet in 2013. AGS is critical to NATO and at this point in time, we cannot fail,' Anderer urged.


Supported by 14 member nations, NATO's AGS programme comprises the procurement of six Block 40 RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs from Northrop Grumman as well as two transportable general ground stations (GGS), six mobile GGS, mission operations support installation and remote workstations. Anderer said he expected a contract to be signed by September this year with activation of the AGS main operating base at Sigonella air force base in Italy launched within the following 18 months.


It is envisaged that the Global Hawks will work alongside NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft or AWACS. 'The AGS core will be able to look at what is happening on the Earth’s surface, providing situational awareness before, during and, if necessary, after NATO operations,' according to officials.


Referring to current operations in Libya, Anderer said an AGS capability would 'provide a constant watch to help thwart Gaddafi's [military] attacks on civilians as well as supporting human relief efforts on land and at sea'.


The AGS programme will carry standard and high resolution SAR, GMTI and maritime moving target indicators for missions ranging from border control and humanitarian operations through to counter-IED and anti-piracy missions.

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