NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance force has achieved the Supreme Allied Commander Europe's approval for initial operating capability following the receipt of a Northrop Grumman-made unmanned aircraft system designed to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
Northrop said Thursday its RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk aircraft has been certified by the Italian Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness, allowing NATO to use the large UAS for military application year-round.
Phoenix Global Hawk will also perform force protection, border security, disaster response and crisis management operations. The Italian Air Base in Sigonella, Italy, will facilitate data transmissions between the aircraft and NATO forces.
“The commitment of the entire AGS team partnership – both government and industry – has shown incredible dedication, working across cultures, time zones and languages, all aiming toward one goal – providing the alliance with this critical capability," said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager for autonomous systems at Northrop.