Romania Insider: Romania and 12 other states members of the North Atlantic Organization Treaty will buy no-pilot airplanes to supervise Europe, part of a European supervision plan that should kick off in 2017, according to NATO. The Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system will give commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground and will become available between 2015 and 2017. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States are the countries that will invest EUR 3 billion in the new system.
The system will consist of five Global Hawk Block airplanes, built by US company Northrop Grumman. Germany, Italy, Romania and the US will buy these planes for EUR 1 billion. The ground system will be made of ground stations in various configurations, at a cost of EUR 2 billion. The main operating base for AGS will be located at Sigonella Air Base in Italy, which will also be a data exploitation training centre.
The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Organization (NAGSMO) will be responsible for the acquisition of the needed equipment on behalf of the 13 participating countries, with the contract award expected in 2012.
The surveillance system is required for cooperative security activities, such as arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, territorial integrity, border control and security, trade routes and trade embargos, oil and gas infrastructure monitoring and protection and humanitarian relief, as well as crisis management.
Romania has been a member of the North Atlantic Organization Treaty since 2004.