NATO nations and partners realise that to be able response to current and future security concerns appropriately, they need to invest in modernising their current capabilities and acquiring new ones. These types of modern defence systems not only need to be interoperable with other NATO nations and partners, but also require significant financial commitments. This makes it challenging for a single nation to acquire all the necessary capabilities it needs to provide for its own defence and contribute to the collective defence of the Alliance.
The Conference of National Armament Directors (CNAD) is the senior committee responsible for promoting the cooperation between countries in the armament field, tasked with identifying collaborative opportunities for research, development and production of military equipment and weapon systems.
As NATO’s premier lifecycle management, acquisition and service provider, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) is ideally situated to assist CNAD in accomplishing its goal of increased multinational cooperation. Over the course of a number of months, NSPA actively engaged with NATO and partner nations to identify capability gaps that nations wished to address and determined that many wished to modernise or establish Ground Based Air Defence and Air Surveillance systems, specifically short- and medium-range air defence.
These types of systems allow nations to respond to a wide range of airborne threats, from cruise missiles and fifth-generation fighters, to threats flying at low-altitude such as small size and low-speed unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as from rockets, artillery and mortar systems.
This identified trend prompted NSPA to host a Ground Based Air Defence Seminar to provide nations a forum to further discussion on this topic and explore avenues for cooperation. On the 7 March 2019, the Communications Air and Missile Defence Programme at NSPA organised the first GBAD Seminar.
Top representatives and GBAD specialists from twelve NATO and partner nations, NATO HQ, NATO AIRCOM and CCSBAMD Ramstein attended the event to share information, make nations aware of the already established cooperation within NSPA, and search for synergies and possible views on further cooperation in NATO taking forward this multinational initiative.
NSPA highlighted the existing cooperative frameworks within Agency that can be used to further improve cooperation in this area. NATO and partner nations briefed on their plans and current investments in GBAD, the majority of which have already started investing in closing this capability gap, but expressed interest in how they can do so more efficiently through multinational cooperation initiatives.
Multinational cooperation initiatives allow NATO nations to help meet their target of allocating two percent of their GDP spending towards defence initiatives in a way that is financially sound and contributes to the collective defence of the Alliance, its member and partner nations.
NSPA is currently supporting GBAD in NATO and partner nations, based on cooperative arrangements. The area of supported systems include long-range systems with theatre ballistic missile defence capabilities (PATRIOT), medium- and short-range systems (HAWK and NASAMS), very short-range capabilities (MISTRAL, STINGER, Anti-Aircraft Artillery) and counter-battery radars (COBRA, ARTHUR, TPQ-36 & 37). Support is provided to participating nations throughout the entire life cycle of the systems, from the acquisition concept phase, development and production, through fielding and in-service support as well as the systems retirement. “These types of multinational cooperation and consolidation to the benefit of all NATO member, partner and with that nearly all European nations clearly demonstrate NSPA’s added value in providing a ‘cradle-to-grave’ life cycle management capability to our customers, making us NATO’s premier life cycle management and services provider,” said Rudolf Maus, Director of Life Cycle Management for the Agency.
From a clearly identified strategic need, NSPA has been able to serve effectively its customers in offering practical, cost-effective and multinational solutions to acquire and modernise systems such as GBAD to contribute to Alliance collective defence.