28 April 2005, This morning, as a result of work done at the twice-annual meeting of NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors, NATO signed a 23 million Euro contract with the Transatlantic Industrial Proposed Solution (TIPS) consortium, as a key part of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme.
This crucial, first major contract with NATO’s chosen industrial partner, represents a break-through for the Alliance. It moves NATO, and NATO nations, one step closer in the AGS programme to fielding a state-of-the-art airborne ground surveillance capability. With an estimated cost of 4 billion euros, AGS will be one of the most expensive acquisition programmes ever undertaken by the Alliance, and one of the most sophisticated, technologically.
The goal of AGS is to enable military commanders and decision-makers to have near-real-time radar imagery that is able to spot grounds targets and track them. This will be done through a mix of both.
The contract was signed, in the presence of NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Allessandro Minuto Rizzo and the Chairman of the CNAD, Marshall Billingslea, together with General Harald Kujat, the Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee. Mr Dag Wilhemsen, General Manager of the NATO Command, Control and Consultation Agency, and Mr Alan Doshier, Senior Vice President of Northop Grumman Integrated Systems, on behalf of the TIPS companies, signed the contract. Dr. Tom Enders, Executive Vice President of European Aeronautical Defence and Space (EADS), and CIO of Defence and Security Systems, witnessed the signatures.
The TIPS consortium brings together the transatlantic expertise of Northop Grumman, EADS, Thales, Galileo Avionica, General Dynamics Canada and Indra, to provide NATO with a leading edge Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, both manned (Airbus A/321) and unmanned (Global Hawk) air platforms, along with ground stations that will present the data from the AGS core. Interoperable, nationally provided ground surveillance assets work with the core, as part of a system of systems. An initial AGS Operational Capability is expected by 2010.
When the current definition phase effort has been successfully completed, NATO will take to the next stage a 500-million euros Design and Development contract. This is planned for the end of this year, or early in 2006.