Defense contractor Northrop Grumman said Sunday that it has signed a $1.7 billion or 1.2 billion euro contract for NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance system. The contract includes the purchase as well as initial operation and maintenance of five Global Hawk unmanned aircraft and transportable ground stations.
The unmanned aircraft will be equipped with an advanced ground surveillance radar sensor – the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program or MP-RTIP.
The MP-RTIP radar is capable of detecting and tracking moving objects as well as providing radar imagery of target locations and stationary objects.
Meanwhile, European companies will be responsible for development and delivery of the transportable ground stations suitable for in-theatre support directly to commanders of deployed forces, mobile ground stations for close support to moving operations, and remote workstations for higher echelon commands.
Otfried Wohlleben, Program Manager of NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency or NAGSMA said, “This Alliance Ground Surveillance program has been a major acquisition priority for NATO. This is an historic moment and we are honored to be bringing this vital, leading edge capability to all NATO member nations.”
Northrop Grumman and its industrial partners joined NATO leadership and 28 ministers of defense from NATO member countries for the signing on Sunday in Chicago.
The company said that thirteen nations, including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the U.S., are expected to pay for the system’s acquisition. However, all 28 alliance nations are to participate in the long-term support of the program.
The primary industrial team from the 13 nations responsible for building the ground stations include Cassidian, Selex Galileo and Kongsberg, and European defense firms ICZ, A.S., ComTrade d.o.o, BIANOR, Technologica, Zavod Za Telefonna Aparatura Ad, Selex Elsag, Elettra Communications, UTI Systems and SES.
The ground element, which provides real-time data, intelligence and target identification to commanders within and beyond line of sight, will be wholly produced by European industry. The contract will offer direct work in the program for the participating nations, Northrop Grumman said.
The main operating base of NATO AGS will be located at Sigonella, Italy, and will be co-located with the U.S. Air Force Global Hawks as well as the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aircraft systems.