Northrop Grumman has successfully ferried the fifth NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) RQ-4D unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), via a non-stop transatlantic flight. The aircraft departed from Palmdale, California and landed nearly 20 hours later at Sigonella Air Base, Sigonella, Italy.
This delivery marks the last of five NATO RQ-4D aircraft to the Main Operating Base (MOB) of the NATO AGS system of systems comprised of aircraft, ground and support segments. Work remains to complete handover of the AGS System to the NATO AGS Force (NAGSF).
The NATO AGS RQ-4D is based on the U.S. Air Force wide area surveillance Global Hawk. The high-altitude, long-endurance HALE UAV carries a multi-platform radar technology insertion program radar and provides an advanced ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability that is able to deliver near real-time situational awareness 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Led by Northrop Grumman, the NATO industry team is comprised of companies from across NATO’s member nations, including Leonardo, Airbus, and Kongsberg and other defence companies.
Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager of autonomous systems at Northrop Grumman, commented: “Once the NATO AGS system achieves Handover, NATO Commanders will have greater flexibility and redundancy to support the mission of protecting ground troops, civilian populations and international borders in peacetime and times of conflict as well as humanitarian missions during natural disasters.”