The fifth and last NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) aircraft arrived at the AGS Main Operating Base in Sigonella, Italy this week.
The arrival of the RQ-4D aircraft at its home base in Europe represents a new milestone in the NATO AGS Programme, completing the NATO AGS fleet.
The aircraft took off from Palmdale Air Force Base in California, United States at 18:04 local time on 11 November 2020 and landed at Sigonella at 13:41 local time the following day, almost 20 hours later.
“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. We remain committed to advancing this important capability to the benefit of the entire Alliance”, said NATO AGS Force Commander Brigadier General Houston Cantwell.
Procuring the Alliance Ground Surveillance System is the responsibility of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency (NAGSMA).
“Roughly speaking one year after the first ferry flight, the landing of the fifth NATO AGS RQ-4D aircraft completes the Ferry Flight of AGS air segment. No doubt, there is significant work ahead of us, but all of us here at NAGSMA are now focused on moving the Programme forward and handing over the AGS system to the NATO AGS Force. I am proud to be the General Manager of such a highly motivated, international team here at NAGSMA – it’s all about their teamwork and their commitment beyond expectations”, said Brigadier General Volker Samanns, the General Manager of the Agency.