23.12.2019

NATO's New MQ-4C will be regulated and licensed according to Italian regulations

New NATO surveillance drones bet on Italian safety ruling – link

Source: Defense News

Article Headlines

  • NATO members are relying on Italy’s safety certifications for the alliance’s new Alliance Ground Surveillance drone fleet, as questions remain about the aircraft’s ability to fly through Europe’s regulated airspace
  • The status of the airworthiness-certification process is outlined in a recent government response to a parliamentary inquiry lodged by the far-left political party Die Linke from Germany
  • According to the document, Berlin is aware that the Italian government issued a so-called military-type certification in late October for the Northrop Grumman-made Global Hawk Block 40 drones, five of which will be stationed in Sigonella, Sicily, in 2020
  • The $1.5 billion program, which includes the aircraft and Airbus-made ground stations, is slated to be fully operational in 2022 following several years of delays

Overview & Comments

  • In 2013 the EuroHawk program, also based on the RQ-4, was cancelled due to the inability to regulate and license the system to operate in German and European airspace
  • A single UAV is still present and stored in Germany with no use
  • In September 2018 Canada has expressed interest in acquiring the second-hand UAV
  • In similar to the issue of armed UAS, there are the same opposition opinions raising concerns regarding the safety of UAS’ flying above populated areas
  • Those concerns too are part of a broader anti-UAS sentiment within various political parties as the RQ-4 / MQ-4C obtains an impressive safety record

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