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17 Jun 02. Northrop Grumman gave details of the Transatlantic Industrial Proposed Solution (TIPS) for the NATO AGS requirement during Eurosatory.

“The TIPS solution is the way forward to secure AGS for NATO,” Jon Campbell told BATTLESPACE at Eurosatory. “The NATO AGS solution is now believed to be a three aircraft requirement based on the Airbus airframe. TIPS provides a 19 Nation Industry Participation Plan and High Technology Cooperation with NATO industry. The UK is operating at the fringes of AGS and is believed to be contributing some Ground Station technology via QinetiQ and the ASTOR aircraft. However there were some unconfirmed reports at Eurosatory that the ASTOR programme may be facing fielding problems with weight problems requiring a number of systems to be dropped from the requirement; this leaves no growth for future systems.

Galileo Avionica, a Finmeccanica subsidiary, is now part of the TIPS Team. Galileo announced two new UAVs at Eurosatory, Falco and NIBBIO. Falco is a turboprop Tactical UAV which gives the Army and Special Forces an adequate response to the needs of area surveillance, identification and borders. NIBBIO is a long penetration high subsonic recognition UAV developed to meet specific requirements for Surveillance and Operations in high risk environments. It can be launched from naval platforms, land ramps and aircraft and is recovered by parachute on sea and on land. Both systems are suitable for the UK Watchkeeper requirement.

Campbell expects the AGS requirement to remain on track for 2010 full operational capability. EADS, Northrop and Gallileo are leading the preparation of a viable, best value, low risk TIPS solution. TIPS was submitted to NATO prior to the 16-17 April 20002 CNAD White Paper. TIPS meets the NATO staff requirement, is consistent with recent RNAC and CNAD decisions, provides NATO with its first major DCI success opportunity, accommodates NATO, National and EU needs, provides availability for 19 nation industrial participation and leverages previous NATO AGS program definition work.

NATO AGS has stalled on a number of occasions over the past few years but iot now looks like all the hurdles have been overcome with the TIPS solution and NATO AGS will now incorporate all other sensor technologies envisaged in previous studies such as the SOSTAR, CRESO, HHORIZON sensors and interoperability eith J-STARS, ASTOR and other UAV assets.

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