COLOGNE, Germany – NATO’s top general in Europe has declared initial operational capability of the alliance’s five-strong fleet of surveillance drones stationed in Sicily, Italy.
The unmanned aircraft and associated ground equipment make up the NATO Allied Ground Surveillance program. Started nine years ago, its goal is to provide all member countries with an aerial picture of worldwide threats, especially in locations close to alliance borders.
The mission-ready proclamation comes after NATO received its fifth and final aircraft for the fleet of modified Northrop Grumman RQ-4D Gobal Hawks at Sigonella Air Base last November. There are also enough trained personnel assigned to the program for initial operations to commence, according to a NATO spokesman.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, the supreme allied commander Europe, called the fleet’s completion “a…
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