NATO AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance) Program

NATO AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance) Program

Leonardo plays a key role in the NATO AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance) programme, which involves a group of 15 Allies – including the USA, Germany, Italy and Norway – aimed at acquiring an advanced ground surveillance capability through remotely piloted aircraft.

As part of the programme, which has Northrop Grumman as prime contractor, Leonardo is responsible for the contribution of Italian industry as well as for the industrial participation of Bulgaria and Romania.

The AGS system comprises air, ground, mission operation and support elements and performs all-weather, persistent, land and maritime surveillance over a vast area and in real-time.

The system is capable of supporting numerous missions including protecting ground troops and civilian populations, border control and maritime security, fighting terrorism, as well as crisis management and humanitarian assistance operations in response to natural disasters. 

The NATO AGS system’s air segment includes five uncrewed Global Hawk Block 40 aerial systems and their control stations. The ground segment includes an operational centre for analysis and data transmission (MOS - Mission Operations Support), two Transportable General Ground Stations (TGGS) and six Mobile General Ground Stations (MGGS). Leonardo's main responsibilities in the programme cover the design and development of the Sigonella MOS system, the TGGS, the application software for the MOS and TGGS functionalities, and the Wide Band Data Link - WBDL.

The MOS station, based in Sigonella (Italy), represents the main ground control centre for the mission thanks to the connection via broadband satellite data link with the remotely piloted aircraft. Through numerous operator stations, it enables effective planning, control, tracking, evaluation and data distribution activities for several missions simultaneously. Data collected in this way are distributed to connected NATO users, according to standard interoperability formats.

The Transportable General Ground Station, the transportable version of the MOS, can be used in the field even without dedicated infrastructure. The TGGS has a modular and flexible structure that allows its set-up to be adapted according to different operational requirements, from a single operator station up to a maximum of 18 stations, and to be connected to the communications system.

The WBDL allows line-of-sight communication between ground components and remotely piloted aircraft. It consists of an air component (Air Data Terminal) located on board the aircraft and a ground component (Ground Data Terminal) placed on a field trailer equipped with its own generator.

The system works in the Ku band, complies with the NATO STANAG 7085 standard and has a down-link capability of 44 Mb/s and up to 2 Mb/s in uplink. The ground terminal is part of the AGS field communication system capability and is equipped with a two-metre diameter adjustable antenna with automatic tracking functionality.

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Wide Band Data Link


Transportable General Ground Station



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