Start of the NATO drone programme in Sigonella, Sicily in summer 2019
As part of the NATO "Alliance Ground Surveillance" (NATO AGS) programme, five "Global Hawk" drones are to be stationed in Sigonella, Sicily. The unmanned aircrafts weigh around 15 tonnes and travel at a maximum speed of 570 kph at an altitude of 18,000 metres. Their payload is approximately 1,400 kg. They carry an optical and radar-based reconnaissance module manufactured by Northrop Grumman.
the delivery of the first "Global Hawk" to the NATO AGS Management Agency (NAGSMA) is now scheduled for the third quarter of 2019. This was initially to have already occurred in 2015. The German Government has ascribed this late delivery to "delays to test flights" in the USA. In addition, there were reports of problems "with the certification process" in Italy. This process, which has taken years, is now to be completed in April 2019. The aircrafts do not reportedly feature either the "Sense and Avoid" or the corresponding "Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance" systems.