NATO has received its fifth RQ-4D Phoenix remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS) from US defense contractor Northrop Grumman.
The aircraft departed on Wednesday, November 11 from Palmdale, California and landed nearly 20 hours later on November 12 at Sigonella Air Base, Sigonella, Italy.
The air vehicle is the last of five NATO RQ-4D aircraft, thus completing deliveries to the Main Operating Base (MOB) of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system of systems comprised of aircraft, ground and support segments.
“I am proud of the NATO AGS Force and of the entire AGS team. The arrival of the fifth and final Phoenix aircraft here in Sigonella is a landmark achievement for everyone. We have accomplished a tremendous amount of training and preparation already and we are looking forward to continue our hard work with the new and final aircraft. Along with our Italian hosts, SHAPE, NATO nations and industry we will continue expanding our infrastructure and capabilities in the coming months,” said NATO AGS Force Commander Brigadier General Houston Cantwell.
The NATO AGS RQ-4D aircraft is based on the US Air Force wide area surveillance Global Hawk. It has been adapted to NATO requirements and will provide NATO intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. This includes protecting ground troops, civilian populations and international borders in peacetime, times of conflict and for humanitarian missions during natural disasters.
The final RPAS arrived in Italy almost exactly a year after the first RQ-4D arrived in November 2019.