Game of Drones

This morning, two Global Hawk drones landed at Sigonella after carrying out two intense missions in the last 24 hours.

The first one was a USAF Northrop Grumman RQ-4B (reg. 10-2045 – c/s FORTE13) which conducted a long mission over the Black Sea, orbiting south of Crimea in both the western and eastern parts of the basin.

The second drone was a NATO Northrop Grumman RQ-4D (reg. MM-AV-SA0016 – c/s MAGMA10) operating for NATO’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Force (NISRF).

NISRF has provided real-world data for Alliance decision makers for five years. During exercise Nordic Response, the Force’s RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft are providing this unique support enhancing multinational training in the High North. 

“Nordic Response 24 is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen our capabilities in a demanding Nordic environment,” said Brigadier General Andrew Clark, NISRF Commander. Working alongside our Allies, we’ll enhance our ability to gather and share critical intelligence, enabling a swift and coordinated response to any potential threat,” he added. 

This week, NISRF collected data in the air over the High North with its own NATO RQ-4D “Phoenix” remotely piloted aircraft. These assets can remain airborne more than 30 hours per mission They provided approximately 25 percent of NISRF-analysed data in Nordic Response 24, while so-called federated data, i.e. data provided by NATO member nations, accounted for the remaining 75 percent. NISRF analysts use this data to process, exploit and disseminate intelligence products to all 32 Alliance members from the Force’s Main Operating Base at Sigonella Air Base, Sicily.

“In today’s complex environment, decision-ready, actionable intelligence provided at the speed of need is one of our greatest weapons,” stated Brigadier General Clark. “As the Alliance’s premier ISR unit, NISRF provides the foundation for informed decisions, allowing NATO to anticipate threats and react quickly,” he concluded.

While the multinational exercise Nordic Response concludes today, March 14, NATO’s exercise series Steadfast Defender will run until the end of May 2024. With a total exercise force of more than 90,000 it demonstrates the unbreakable bond between NATO Allies in Europe and North America, who have kept over one billion people safe for 75 years.

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