The Nato Alliance Ground Surveillance Force’s (NAGSF) RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) has returned to Italy after receiving maritime capability upgrades. 

With call sign NATO14, the RPA landed at Sigonella Air Base in Italy on 17 September, after completing a 21-hour flight from Edwards Air Force Base in California, US. 

Prior to its return, NATO14 underwent a series of comprehensive tests with its manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, in the US.

The company provided a maritime mode software upgrade to Nato’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.

The technical upgrade was provided to boost NAGSF’s capabilities to detect and track naval surface combatants.

The aircraft has also been fitted with the maritime inverse synthetic aperture radar, which will allow the Nato forces to recognise non-cooperative targets.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

With the new upgrade, the allied and partner nations will now have increased capability to collect ISR products.

NAGSF commander brigadier general Andrew Clark said: “The return of this aircraft marks a major milestone for NAGSF and the alliance.

“The upgraded sensor dramatically improves Nato’s ISR capability by enabling effective collection in the maritime domain.”

Following the RPA’s return, the NAGSF technicians are now integrating RQ-4D aircraft back into the operational schedule of the Sigonella forces.

An additional four RQ-4D operated by NAGSF will soon return to the main operating base in Italy with the same upgrades.

The NAGSF has already achieved an initial operational capability and is currently operating out of temporary facilities at Sigonella.

The force primarily supports Nato allies and partner nations in conducting a wide variety of missions, including crisis response, border control, anti-terrorism, maritime safety, indications and warnings operation, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.