NATO nations on May 20 signed the procurement contract for the Alliance Ground Surveillance program with the Northrop Grumman-led industry team that will supply the RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft and advanced ground-surveillance radar sensors for them, announced the alliance. “The signature of the procurement contract for the AGS system is an important step towards the delivery of this key capability to the alliance,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow in addressing the alliance’s defense ministers at the signing ceremony in Chicago on the margins of the NATO summit. Thirteen NATO members, including the United States, are acquiring five radar-equipped Global Hawks and the associated command and control base stations to provide the alliance with a high-altitude, long-endurance ground-surveillance and reconnaissance capability. AGS is expected to be fully operational in 2017, according to NATO’s release. “The decision to move ahead with the Alliance Ground Surveillance program in today’s difficult economic climate sends a powerful message,” said Vershbow.
Whether the F-35 fighter will get new engines from the Air Force’s cutting-edge Adaptive Engine Transition Program is a question that needs to be resolved at the Defense Department level, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told lawmakers May 17—and he anticipates an answer in the 2024 budget.