The Alliance Ground Support system, “comprised of five NATO RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft” and “ground command and control stations”, arrived at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily and will be tested for approximately 6 months.
NATOs first ever drones have arrived in Europe amid concerns over cost overruns and an escalating arms race.
The NATO RQ-4D, which is from the same line as the RQ-4A, which was “rushed into service” as far back as 2005 as part of the so called ‘Global War on Terror’, will form part of what is known as the Allied Ground Support System.
“I welcome the arrival of the first Alliance Ground Surveillance aircraft in Sigonella. This demonstrates that NATO Allies are committed to modernising the Alliance and investing to deliver key cutting-edge capabilities to the benefit of our shared security,” NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
The system at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily will be collectively owned and operated by NATO allies.
The Alliance stated that, “It has been uniquely adapted to NATO requirements to provide a state-of-the-art Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability to NATO”.
A similar version of this drone, the failed “Euro Hawk” programme, cost Germany $700 million in lost investment. In 2015 the programme was mired in delays over technical issues and flight test delays. While
The NATO RQ-4D is also part of the same variant of drone which the Iranian government shot down in June…