The first Production Unit of the mobile deployable part of the Allied Ground Surveillance Core system, the Mobile General Ground Station (MGGS), was transferred to the NATO AGS Main Operating Base at Sigonella in mid-March, marking another milestone in the completion of the AGS Programme.

“This transfer represents a major milestone for us, as this MGGS unit is the first piece of exploitation equipment taken over by NATO, by the AGS Force, in the framework of the AGS Programme,” said the NATO AGS Force Commander, Brigadier General Phillip Stewart at the NATO AGS Force Main Operating Base at Sigonella, Italy.

“Acting on behalf of the AGS procuring Nations, the NATO AGS Management Agency (NAGSMA) is very proud to offer to the NATO AGS Force an Early Use of Mobile General Ground Station (MGGS) Production Unit for familiarization and training” said Brigadier General Volker Samanns, the NAGSMA General Manager. NATO’s AGS Core system includes five remotely piloted RQ-4D Phoenix aircraft, developed and produced specifically to NATO’s requirements, as well as mobile and transportable ground segments, produced by European industries.

The system is being procured by 15 Allies via NAGSMA, who together with industry and the NATO AGS Force continues performance tests at Sigonella aiming at handing over the entire system to the user, the AGS Force.

The first two (of five) RQ-4D Phoenix aircraft arrived in Sigonella last December, and a test flight over the Mediterranean Sea was performed in March this year. The initial Operational Capability is scheduled in 2020.

According to industry, the MGGS aims at providing the Alliance with an unprecedented capability of persistent surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance over wide areas.

Radar images will be acquired by the RQ-4D Phoenix remotely piloted aircraft and received via a direct or satellite broadband connection.

In addition, data from all interoperable Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems operated by NATO and its member states can be received and evaluated.

The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system is collectively owned and operated by the Allies. All Allies will have access to data acquired by the system. As such it will fill a capability gap for NATO in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance domain.

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Certainly is! Innovative solution to German requirements.


This is a terrible idea, truly the worst of all the options. Imagine basing your aircraft procurement on a dumb gravity bomb, to be mounted on a non stealthy, vulnerable and completely new system to their Air Force. All because of some inflexible legalities that means Germany must have this capability because… it’s the law. Also, how can it take 5 years to certify Eurofighter to carry a gravity bomb? How Russia must be laughing at this. Here is an idea: F35B’s and Eurofighters, then their Gen 6 aircraft. We should join their Eurofighter and F35B purchases as well, and… Read more »

Nigel Collins

This might be a better option or the latest EX?

“Case in point, this test F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to Eglin Air Force Base carrying an inert version of America’s newest variant of its long-running B61 series of nuclear bombs, the precision-guided B61-12.”

Nigel Collins

It will be interesting to see how this pans out. BOEING F/A-18E/F SUPER HORNET BLOCK III NUCLEAR CAPABLE BY 2025 As the Block III Super HORNET (and incidentally the E/A-18 GROWLER) will be offered to Germany to replace its fleet of ageing TORNADOs, Boeing states during the Media tour that, “by 2025 we will have nuclear capability.” The German Ministry of Defense is looking at the nonstealthy Eurofighter TYPHOON and F/A-18 Super HORNET and to replace Germany’s 90 TORNADO aircraft set to retire in 2035, but the jets will have to carry nuclear weapons. The TYPHOON is not nuclear capable… Read more »


Did we always do this collective buying and co-ownership? Or is this new?


Not very german if you ask me, the Germans are getting sloppy.


Seems crazy that Germany’s decision is forced due to some legal requirement to drop an unguided bomb. A weapon that is so outdated it will never be used even in a nuclear war.
If there is no sale to Saudi I think Germany and the UK will be forced to order extra numbers to keep production lines open until 2030.
I just hope it does not result in a cut to F35b for the uk

Corin Vestey

This seems nuts. Two small fleets of US aircraft when Germany could invest in Typhoon and get the electronic attack variant they are talking about up and running? I doubt F35A is now much more expensive than a Super Hornet and is certainly more survivable. I seriously doubt the US would need 4-5 years to certify one of their own aircraft for the role, especially not the F35 for this particular FMS .

Cheap-ass decision that will cost more in the medium-term.