At the end of last week, the fourth aircraft piloted remotely by the NATO Land Surveillance Force of the Alliance (AGS) arrived at the Italian Air Force Base at Sigonella, directly from Edwards Air Force Base in California, from where it almost departed 22 hours before. In this way, the alliance strengthens its presence in Italy, whose geography is very close to one of the places that NATO continues to monitor - the Balkans and especially Kosovo - in an attempt to keep that region, the most problematic in Europe, on the radar. of observation.
“The arrival of the fourth aircraft represents another successful step for the NATO Alliance's Ground Surveillance Force. Less than two weeks after the landing of the third aircraft piloted remotely by the RQ-4D, also called 'Phoenix', the fleet of five NATO AGS Force aircraft is almost ready, ”the organization said in a statement.
“The arrival of the fourth aircraft increases our capabilities with greater redundancy and flexibility. The NATO Force at the AGS level continues to move forward, becoming the organization's main provider of regional 'indications and warnings' information to Alliance members, ”said Brigadier-General of the Force, Houston Cantwell, quoted in the statement. .
The acquisition of the Alliance's Land Surveillance System is the responsibility of the NATO Alliance's Land Surveillance Management Agency (NAGSMA). “Now having four AGS aircraft in Sigonella demonstrates the commitment and capacity of the purchasing nations of AGS and NAGSMA to supply the system, while increasing our flexibility in testing the system. It also provides additional equipment from the AGS Force for familiarization and training, ”said Brigadier-General Volker Samanns, also from the agency.
This last crossing from the Atlantic from California to Italy was fully controlled by industry pilots at the Alliance Operational Base Surveillance Force's main operational base at Sigonella, just as it had on the first three ferry flights. Upon arrival, the Alliance's Land Surveillance Management Agency and Italian airworthiness authorities “will finalize the necessary documentation and deliver the system to the Force as soon as possible,” the document concludes.