Washington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & Security
Washington, DC 20001

NATO Maritime Air (MARAIR) Operations team carried out a communications test flight with the NATO Alliance Ground System (AGS) during its flight on February 25, 2021.

As the AGS was flying over the Central Mediterranean, MARAIR based out of NATO Maritime Command headquarters in Northwood, U.K. was able to establish a communications link to the AGS operators in the Sigonella Airbase, NATO Air Command and Combined Air Operations Center Torrejon.

MARAIR was able to cross-reference the AGS sensor data with their automatic identification system (AIS) picture, enhancing maritime situational awareness and the recognized maritime picture.

In the future, MARAIR-AGS communications will be improved by linking in with surface assets and maritime patrol aircraft. Cross-domain integration is key to NATO operational capability.

The NATO AGS system consists of air, ground and support segments, performing all-weather, persistent wide-area terrestrial and maritime surveillance in near real-time.

Earlier in February 2021, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod Wolters, declared the NATO AGS RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft initially operationally ready to conduct missions. This is a major milestone for the program, which will substantially increase the Alliance’s awareness, indications and warnings of what is happening around its borders.

AGS will be able to contribute to a range of missions such as protection of ground troops and civilian populations, border control and maritime safety, the fight against terrorism, crisis management and humanitarian assistance in natural disasters.

All five NATO AGS aircraft are located at the AGS Main Operating Base in Sigonella, Italy.


  • Research Team

    The Research Team is the dedicated collective behind the insightful contributions on the Washington Institute For Defense & Security. With a profound understanding of global dynamics and a commitment to rigorous analysis, the Research Team delivers authoritative perspectives, enriching the discourse on critical international matters.

    View all posts

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive latest news, updates, promotions, and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.
No, thanks