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Alliance Ground Surveillance

NATO is operating the Alliance Ground Surveillance, or in short AGS system, that provides Allied Forces with unprecedented near real-time terrestrial and maritime situational awareness throughout the full range of NATO military and civil-military missions, including peacekeeping and humanitarian disaster relief operations. Under operational control of Allied Air Command, the NATO-owned and -operated AGS core system enables the Alliance to perform persistent surveillance over wide areas from high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft, operating at considerable stand-off distances and in any weather or light condition. Using advanced radar sensors, these systems can continuously detect and track moving objects throughout observed areas and provide radar imagery of areas of interest and stationary objects.

NATO operates and maintains the AGS system comprised of five NATO RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft and the associated European-sourced ground command and control stations. The AGS NATO RQ-4D aircraft is based on the US Air Force Block 40 Global Hawk. It has been uniquely adapted to NATO requirements to provide a state-of-the-art Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability to the Alliance.

The main operating base for AGS is located at the Sigonella Air Base in Italy, which serves as a NATO Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance deployment base. While the majority of the AGS personnel operate from Italy, a small number of AGS staff are based at Allied Command Operations in Mons, Belgium and at Headquarters Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany.

With all five RQ-4D aircraft on-site at Sigonella, the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force has an initial operational capability enabling the Alliance to perform surveillance over wide areas operating at considerable distances and in any weather condition. Using advanced radar sensors, these systems will detect and track moving objects and will provide radar imagery of areas of interest and stationary objects.

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