RAMSTEIN, Germany - Since the beginning of 2022 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NAGSF) has conducted many missions and accumulated hundreds of flying hours on the eastern flank. Flying at high altitudes above Allies territories and in international airspace, the NAGSF RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft collected hundreds of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data sets that are used by all Allies to prepare activities supporting deterrence and defence of NATO member countries.
We will continue exploiting our unique and critical capability to deter our adversaries and defend the Alliance
“The NATO RQ-4D is a key contributor to the situational awareness of the Alliance and the NAGSF team of multinational experts at the AGS Main Operating Base at Sigonella processes these ISR products and collates them with data from other sources,” said Brigadier General Christoph Pliet, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Air Command, Ramstein, where RQ-4D operations are controlled. “Final products are then distributed to the 31 member nations of NATO and used to inform decisions for military operations to protect our Allies,” he continued.
An RQ-4D being towed at the AGS Main Operating Base at Sigonella, Italy. NATO operates a fleet of these drones which are key contributors to Alliance situational awareness.
Archive photo courtesy NAGSF.
The NATO RQ-4D High-Altitude Long-Endurance aircraft are launched and controlled from Sigonella Air Base. They operate at a flight level above 50,000 feet – well above civilian air traffic – over NATO Allies’ territories and international waters. Archive photo courtesy NAGSF.
“NAGSF is a prime example of member nations successfully working together to preserve the integrity of Allied territory,” said Brigadier General Andrew Clark, NAGSF Commander. “We will continue exploiting our unique and critical capability to deter our adversaries and defend the Alliance,” he added.
NAGSF regularly operates their RQ-4Ds during extended missions and makes legitimate use of international airspace. Succeeding in military operations requires continuous and comprehensive situational awareness. NAGSF is an asset NATO employs to achieve an understanding of movements in the air, on land or at sea, to enable our planning, concept and effective operations. As NATO’s intelligence hub, NAGSF collects, collates, exploits and distributes products that further enable us to prepare and react appropriately to changes in the security environment at the tactical, operational and strategic levels.