NATO countries agree on the concept of Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC)

Source: NSPA, Defence Industry Europe

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has announced that the North Atlantic Council (NAC) has agreed to a report by National Armaments Directors setting out the findings of the study phase of the Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) Concept Stage.

 

The report defines the selected Technical Concept based on studies provided by Industry to meet AFSC Capability Requirements and proposes the way forward for the programme establishment phase. As a result, the third and final phase of the Concept Stage has been initiated and NSPA will continue to lead the Programme.

The study phase took place from 2019 to December 2023 in a two-step process that saw strong Industry players and specialist companies from across NATO Nations teaming up to enable the analysis of a wide range of requirements and propose innovative solutions in order to assist NATO in establishing an AFSC Technical Concept.

 

 

The agreed AFSC Technical Concept describes an evolution towards distributed multi-domain Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) and wide-area surveillance employing a wide range of systems and platforms integrated through a robust and adaptive interoperability architecture to allow a variety of flexible system configurations in future operations. The implementation roadmap foresees development of air surveillance UASs, air surveillance pods, communication pods, space-based surveillance services, penetrating UASs, and advanced satellite and tactical communications, as well as the enhancement and modernization of current NATO and National Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capabilities to mitigate short-term risks.

The next phase of the project will involve an analysis of the capability gaps in these areas and the establishment of development programmes to deliver AFSC capabilities over the next two decades, harmonized through an AFSC reference architecture and associated interoperability standards.

 

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As one element of the AFSC System of Systems, and to mitigate the risk of a deployable air surveillance/BMC2 capability gap after the forecast retirement of the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet after 2035, in November 2023 NSPA announced its acquisition strategy across seven nations for an initial Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (iAFSC) capability. To do so, based on a US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case, NSPA is taking steps towards acquiring 6 E-7A Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Wedgetail aircraft manufactured by Boeing.

The Development Stage of the AFSC initiative will follow the completion of Phase 3 of the Concept Stage at the end of 2025.

 

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