Just as NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (NAEW&C) – also known as AWACS – radar aircraft monitor Alliance airspace, the AGS Core will be able to look at what is happening on the earth’s surface, providing situational awareness before, during and, if necessary, after NATO operations.
The AGS Core will be an integrated system consisting of an air segment and a ground segment.
- The air segment will be based on the Block 40 version of the US RQ-4B Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The UAV will be equipped with the state-of-the-art multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) ground surveillance radar sensor, and also with an extensive suite of line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight long-range, wideband data links.
- The ground segment will provide an interface between the AGS Core system and a wide range of Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) systems to interconnect with and provide data to multiple deployed and non-deployed operational users, including reach-back facilities, remote from the surveillance area.
The primary ground segment component will consist of a number of ground stations in different configurations, such as mobile and transportable configurations, which will provide data link connectivity, data processing and exploitation capabilities, and interfaces for interoperability with C2ISR systems. The AGS Core ground segment will also include dedicated mission support facilities at the AGS Main Operating Base (MOB), and ground stations for flight control of the UAVs. The Main Operating Base will be located at Sigonella Air Base, Italy.
The composition of the AGS Core system will provide NATO with considerable flexibility in employing its surveillance capabilities in a manner that can be tailored to the needs of any emerging situation. The Core system will be supplemented by interoperable national airborne stand-off ground surveillance systems from NATO countries, thus forming a system of systems.