SIGONELLA, Italy – On November 28, 2022, a handover ceremony took place at the Sigonella Air Base, home to the five Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft and the NATO AGS Force (NAGSF).
The event marked the successful completion of the infrastructure works – that started in July 2018 – for the expansion of the AGS Ground Operations Area and the Flight Area. Representatives from NATO, Host Nation Italy and NAGSF, gathered at Sigonella for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and subsequently, had the opportunity to visit the new facilities.
Representatives from NATO, Host Nation Italy and NAGSF, gathered at Sigonella for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the occasion of the handover of newly completed infrastructure at the Italian Air Base at Sigonella. Photo by Dion Houston.
"The completion of our permanent infrastructure is critical to achieving Full Operational Capability and realizing our vision as NATO’s elite ISR organisation," said NAFGSF Commander Brigadier General Andy Clark. Photo by Dion Houston.
One of NATO's five RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft in the newly build hangar at the Fore's Main Operating Base in Sigonella, Italy. Archive photo by courtesy NAGSAF.
A top view of the new ecologically sustainable complex including the NAGSF Headquarters building at Sigonella Air Base. Photo courtesy Webuild.
The completion of our permanent infrastructure is critical to achieving Full Operational Capability and realizing our vision as NATO’s elite ISR organisation
Managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), commissioned and funded by NATO, on behalf of Host Nation Italy, the infrastructure works cover a total area of 26,700 square metres. The project encompasses the design and construction of new buildings for command and control activities, the new NAGSF Headquarters, three modern hangars, a new apron, and related workshops, warehouses, and offices. The works also included the renovation of existing warehouses for logistics and maintenance.
“The new infrastructure will improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, while providing a comfortable place to work for all those contributing to the Alliance Ground Surveillance mission”, said NSPA General Manager Ms Stacy Cummings. “This complex project demonstrates our ability to deliver efficient, effective, and responsive solutions to NATO and our Nations,” she added.
“Today marks an important milestone for NATO and the Force,” said Brigadier General Andy Clark, NAGSF Commander. “The completion of our permanent infrastructure is critical to achieving Full Operational Capability and realizing our vision as NATO’s elite Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) organisation,” he added.
The measures for energy-environmental sustainability adopted to ensure the long-term environmental and economical sustainability of the new infrastructure include advanced management of rainwater and wastewater, recycled materials, and 600 photovoltaic panels integrated on the roof of the largest building.
The NATO AGS system comprises five Northrop Grumman RQ-4D “Phoenix” remotely piloted aircraft, supporting fixed and deployable command and control elements, ground segments, and supporting communication architecture. The system provides the Alliance with a state-of-the-art capability that enables comprehensive ISR collection and distribution to NATO and Allied decision makers. In addition to being responsible for the infrastructure upgrade, NSPA also manages the full life cycle management of the system on behalf of the 30 NATO Allies.
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