27 Apr 05. On Thursday, 28th April, 2005, a contract will be signed between the NATO C3 Agency and the Transatlantic Industrial Proposed Solution (TIPS) consortium, taking forward the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) project. This contract, valued at over €20m, will address a number of key issues leading to the design and development phase of the AGS programme (valued at around €4bn). At the centre of this programme is a development of a new, cutting-edge Transatlantic Cooperative AGS Radar (TCAR) radar that will be a joint effort by six countries and ultimately integrated onto manned aircraft and UAVs.
TCAR, to be developed by the six leading AGS countries, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. European and U.S. defense officials in previous interviews said sensitive technology-release agreements may cover the bulk of negotiations in this field for the coming months.
In the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Ambassador Minuto Rizzo, the contract will be signed by Mr. Doshier, Senior Vice President Northop Grumman Integrated Systems, on behalf of TIPS and by Mr. Dag Wilhelmsen, NC3A General Manager, on behalf of NATO. Mr. Tom Enders, who is currently Vice President of EADS Defence and Security Systems, will also act as a witness.
The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Harald Kujat, Mr. Marshall Billingslea, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment and the National Armaments Directors will attend the ceremony.
A Procurement Strategy Workshop Jan. 11-14 resolved major logistical issues, the first program official said. NATO’s Conference of the National Armaments Directors then approved the procurement strategy. NATO is now working on critical documents that must be finalized for the program to move into the D&D phase. The first AGS official said NATO is still concerned about the lack of a legal entity to manage the program and a management structure within industry that would enable it to quickly respond to alliance requests. These elements need to be in place for the risk-reduction study to be successfully completed by the October-November time frame, he said, because short reaction times to requests are critical in this phase. He noted, however, that TIPS has been very cooperative to date. An EADS Defense and Security Systems spokesperson here added that industry was positively engaged in all activities concerning AGS, but a legal entity will not be formed until a D&D contract has been awarded. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 8, 24th February 2005, NEW DEVELOPMENTS FOR NATO AGS)
“That was clear to all participants,” the spokesperson said. “As soon as we have the D&D contract, a joint venture with a legal form will be created.” In the meantime, said the EADS spokesperson, TIPS is preparing the documents along with NATO for the D&D phase.
“Following extensive discussions, the workshop came to a unanimous conclusion that a risk-reduction study, prior to the D&D contract award, and in parallel to the D&D contract preparation, was an excellent solution for answering nations’ concerns,” said Fynbo. “We also anticipate that the study can be the catalyst for resolving program and export-control issues.” According to the AGS Support Staff newsletter, AGS will “provide Ground Moving Target Indicator and Synthetic Aperture Radar information in an all-weather, day/night, medium- to high-altitude, stand-off system.” The system is based on a TIPS industrial proposal of manned and unmanned platforms, consisting of an Airbus A321 plane and a Global Hawk RQ-4B High-Altitude Long Endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, supported by “different types of ground stations.”