asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the present status of the NATO air-to-ground surveillance (AGS) programme; to what extent the United Kingdom is participating in that programme; and how will the AGS system, when it is in operation, inter-relate with the United Kingdom's airborne stand-off radar (ASTOR) system.
NATO has recently announced its preferred solution to meet the requirements for a NATO-owned and operated core alliance ground surveillance (AGS) system. NATO has decided to pursue the transatlantic industrial proposed system (TIPS) option proposed by a consortium led by EADS and Northrop Grumman. The TIPS option is based on a mixed fleet of manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). NATO AGS work is now focused on taking the TIPS option through to contract award in spring 2005.
The UK participated in the recently completed definition phase. While we shall not be a funding partner in future phases of the core AGS programme, we will contribute advice and guidance to ensure that the required interoperability with the ASTOR system is achieved. The UK will be offering ASTOR as a national contribution to the overall NATO AGS capability, to complement the core AGS system when the latter enters service.