Northrop Grumman has successfully ferried the first of five NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance aircraft, via a non-stop, 22-hour transatlantic flight.
The aircraft took off on Nov. 20, from Palmdale, Calif., and landed approximately 22 hours later on Nov. 21 at Sigonella Air Base in Sigonella, Italy.
“Northrop Grumman is proud to support NATO in its mission to protect and defend global security, while maintaining a position of collective deterrence for the Alliance,” said Brian Chappel, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. “NATO missions will be enhanced by the strategic surveillance capability NATO AGS provides.”
The NATO AGS RQ-4D aircraft is based on the U.S. Air Force wide area surveillance Global Hawk. It has been uniquely adapted to NATO requirements and will provide NATO state-of-the-art 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.
Aircraft, ground and support segments, along with advanced sensor technologies including the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program radar, comprise the NATO AGS system.
The NATO AGS aircraft has met the rigorous standards required for the first large unmanned aerial vehicle, military type certification, approved by the Italian Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness.