Northrop Grumman has supported the Nato Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NAGSF) to achieve a milestone in the system level performance verification.

Under the control of NAGSF trained pilots, a nine-hour training and test flight was successfully conducted for the first time.

The Nato AGS RQ-4D aircraft is based on the US Air Force (USAF) wide area surveillance Global Hawk.

The aircraft has been adapted to Nato requirements to provide advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.

It will further protect ground troops, civilian populations and international borders during peacetime, in times of conflict, during natural disasters and humanitarian missions.

The NAGSF system comprises a group of 15 allies, which have collectively acquired five Nato RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft and the associated European-sourced ground command and control stations.

Nato operates and maintains the aircraft on behalf of all Nato allies.

Northrop Grumman autonomous systems vice-president and general manager Jane Bishop said: “Northrop Grumman is proud to support NAGSF pilots training as they control flights with number one Nato RQ-4D Phoenix.

“We remain committed in our relationship to Nato and the mission to protect and defend global security.”

Earlier this month, Northrop Grumman won a $151.3m order for large aircraft infrared countermeasure (LAIRCM) systems and support. Under the award, the company will deliver infrared countermeasure systems to the USAF.

The LAIRCM system is used to defend aircrews by detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats.

By directing a high-intensity laser beam into the missile seeker, the system has the capability to automatically counter advanced infrared missile systems.