NATO nations to increase sharing of imagery and intelligence assets

NATO UAV program

From NATO:  In the spirit of “smart defence”, nine Nations have launched at the end of February a five-year project that will significantly boost the Alliance’s ability to tackle new challenges such as piracy by rapidly sharing imagery and other information from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets.

Under the agreement, technology that is currently being successfully used in Afghanistan will be further developed and applied in a wider context. This will make it easier and faster for Nations to share imagery from high-priced assets, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, surveillance aircraft and other such assets, as and when necessary.“These assets – and their deployment – are very expensive,” said Lieutenant Colonel Arle Brustad of Norway, Chairman of the nine-Nation project team. “By rapidly sharing imagery, we can avoid having multiple assets deployed in the same location, cover a significantly larger area, or cover a specific area for a longer period. In effect, what we get is more intelligence for our Euro.”

The project was launched in Rome in February 2011 and formally briefed to the NATO armaments and C3 community on 21 February.  The level of effort will amount to over 100 million Euro and involve Industry from the nine participating Nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The project will also look to sharing and leveraging military assets – such as UAV imagery – in support of civilian authorities in crisis management and other roles such as border monitoring.

“We realize that many of the later developments potentially widen the applicability of the capabilities,” LTC Brustad continued, “For example, military UAVs are already being used in Afghanistan to monitor progress in farming, providing key data to civilian authorities.”  (graphic: Northrop Grumman)

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