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Mar 30 2022

NSPA awards contracts to redefine NATO's future surveillance and control

LUXEMBOURG - The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has awarded contracts to the ABILITI Consortium*, the ASPAARO team*, and General Atomics, to conduct Risk Reduction and Feasibility Studies (RRFS), as part of the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) initiative. These studies will help redefine the next steps on how NATO will conduct surveillance and control after the planned retirement of the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet around 2035. 

In July 2021, NSPA launched the competition for Risk Reduction and Feasibility Studies to develop and analyse the feasibility of three promising concepts identified during the initial high-level concept studies. 65 companies were nominated to participate in the bidding. The Agency awarded three contracts, one per study, from the seven bids received. 

Each contractor has been awarded a 15.5 MEUR contract to develop and detail a realistic Technical Concept and analyse its feasibility and risks for implementation. A wide team of NATO and national experts will further assess these three Technical Concepts to support the selection of a final Technical Concept. This will guide collective, multinational and national capability development efforts by the Allies, based on potential capability gaps to be identified after the completion of the studies.

"The award of RRFS contracts is a significant step in the concept stage, bringing us very close to our final goal of taking key decisions on future surveillance and control capabilities. We are very happy to see strong industry players and specialist companies teaming up for these contracts to enable the analysis of a wide range of requirements and propose innovative solutions", said Dr Cagatay Soyer, NSPA AFSC Programme Manager. 

The studies will allow us to obtain valuable technical and commercial information in the concept stage and facilitate faster and more efficient execution of complex acquisition programmes

Study deliverables include technical architectures, system specifications, life cost estimates and intellectual property rights analysis.

The AWACS has been NATO's key surveillance and control asset since the 1980s, and will retire around 2035, after 50 years of service. To plan for the required follow-on capability, at the 2016 Summit in Warsaw, NATO launched the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) to develop options for future NATO surveillance and control capabilities. In February 2017, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) initiated the AFSC Concept Stage with NSPA as the lead NATO agency to conduct studies and develop technical concepts. Through this work, NSPA is evaluating new technologies and exploring a system of systems approach, including potential combinations of air, ground, maritime, and space systems working together to collect and share information. All 30 NATO Allies currently cooperate in the planning and resourcing of this programme.

* The Boeing ABILITI Consortium includes the following companies – Indra (Spain), Leonardo (Italy), Inmarsat (UK), Thales (France), ESG (Germany), Lufthansa Technik (Germany), and Mott MacDonald (United Kingdom).

* The Airbus and Northrop Grumman ASPAARO team includes the following companies BAE Systems (United Kingdom), MDA Systems (Canada), Lockheed Martin (USA), Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace (Norway), GMV Aerospace (Spain), Exence S.A. (Poland), and IBM (USA).

* General Atomics is not in a consortium but will include subcontractors namely; ViaSat (USA), Leidos (USA), Raytheon (USA), Rohde & Schwarz (Germany), Saab Sensis (USA), Sener Aerospatiale (Spain) and Leonardo (United Kingdom).

Story by NATO Support and Procurement Agency

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