On 21 November 2019, the first of five NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Global Hawk RQ-4D, remotely piloted aircrafts, landed at the AGS Main Operating Base (MOB) Sigonella in Italy after 22 hours of transatlantic flight from Palmdale Air Base California in the United States.
The completion of this AGS ferry flight marks the implementation of a key multinational project, made up of 15 NATO nations, for the procurement of a state-of-the-art, high altitude long endurance (HALE) asset in the Intelligence and Reconnaissance (ISR) domain.
Once the acquisition is complete, the system will be provided to NATO to own and operate on behalf of the 29 NATO nations.
The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has an essential role in the sustainment of the system, being responsible for the Life Cycle Management of the NATO AGS system. NSPA's responsibilities include engineering and logistics support, strong contractual capabilities, system upgrades/modernization and compliance against aeronautical regulations in order to keep the system safe for flight. In addition to the team in Luxembourg, NSPA has established a permanent deployed unit at MOB Sigonella to provide first line support to the NATO AGS Force (NAGSF).
This achievement is a key milestone in the establishment of a NATO owned and operated AGS system.