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NATO’s Phoenix AGS fleet achieves initial operational capability

NATO Phoenix AGS
Photo: NATO

The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system that is composed of five Phoenix RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft is ready for missions after achieving initial operational capability.

IOC is a major milestone for the program, which will substantially increase the alliance’s awareness, indications and warnings of what is happening around its borders. The aircraft will be piloted remotely from Sigonella in Sicily and will mostly fly within NATO airspace or international airspace.

Adapted to meet NATO’s intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance requirements, AGS will be available for all 30 alliance members.

“The declaration of IOC is an important milestone for NATO’s AGS force and for the Alliance as a whole. The RQ-4D Phoenix remotely piloted aircraft is a highly capable system”, said SHAPE Strategic Employment Directorate Commander, Major General Phillip Stewart earlier.

“This unique, multinational capability, paired with a team of allied specialists who process, evaluate, and distribute intelligence, provides NATO decision makers with timely and relevant information.”

The IOC comes after NATO received its final aircraft from Northrop Grumman in November 2020. The first Mobile General Ground Station (MGGS), which forms part of the AGS capability, arrived in Italy in March 2020.