16 August 2020, Sigonella, ITALY
On 10 August, the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force obtained use of its first aircraft hangar – a milestone event in the Force’s progression into its final infrastructure.
The new hangar, which increases the NATO AGS Force‘s capacity for RQ-4D aircraft storage and maintenance, is capable of storing one “PHOENIX” aircraft. When the final infrastructure is complete, the Force will have the ability to house all five PHOENIX air vehicles in four hangars constructed specifically for the use of the NATO AGS Force. The other 3 hangars are in various states of construction, but will be handed over simultaneously, following completion.
At 55.3m wide by 26.5m deep, the hangar will be the only certified fuel cell repair hangar on Sigonella Air Base capable of housing the RQ-4D „PHOENIX“, increasing the Force’s ability to conduct critical maintenance supporting NATO AGS Force flight operations.
This indoor fuel cell repair location is critical as it is away from environmental hazards such as lightning, wind and rain. Additionally, the hangar is specially built with electrical protection specifically to prevent arcing that could cause a fire in a fuel vapor rich environment.
This progress in the build-up of infrastructure shows how NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance capability is steadily growing towards its full capacity and becoming more capable every day. Recently the third and fourth out of five remotely pilotted PHOENIX aircraft have arrived at Sigonella. The aircrafts are currently undergoing their system level performance verification phases before being officially handed over to the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force.
Source and photo: NATO; Photo: Dion Huston