by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the launch event of the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please? Thank you and good morning and welcome to the launch event of the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability concept stage. We will make it short. We will start the ceremony with introductory remarks by the NATO Deputy Secretary General, followed by introductory remarks by the Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom, in their role as the lead nation for this project. I will then invite the ministers to sign the documents in front of them, before we come to the highlight of today, the trailer for the NGRC concept stage. And now, without further ado, DSG, the floor is yours.
MIRCEA GEOANĂ [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. As we celebrate the launch of the concept stage for the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability Initiative, the NGRC. I remember the initial signing of the Letter of Intent in October 2020, which we had to do virtually. So it is my great pleasure to be with you here today, only 19 months later, to mark the first milestone of this very important project. Je voudrais aujourd’hui exprimer ma sincère gratitude aux Ministres de la Défense de la France, de l’Allemagne, de la Grèce, de l’Italie, des Pays-Bas et du Royaume Uni. Merci pour votre présence aujourd’hui et pour vos contributions à portant de notre alliance. (Today I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Ministers of Defense of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Thank you for your presence today and for your contributions to our alliance.) Let me also warmly welcome Stacy Cummings, the General Manager of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, the NSPA, who’ll be the executing agent for the concept stage. Let me also thank Camille Grand and our Defence Investment Division for the excellent work they are doing like always. Medium-lift helicopters are a vital part of Allied capabilities and a key enabler for rapid deployment and transport. Our current fleets across the Alliance are a mix of models and designs that date back to the previous century. They will be gradually phased out in the coming decades, some of which as early as 2035. The Next Generation Rotorcraft Project aims to develop and field the next generation of medium-lift helicopters and ensure a seamless transition between the two generations. Over the next three years, the concept stage will be crucial to the success of the programme. The six Allies and the NSPA will work hand-in-hand with industry to identify and evaluate different concepts and approaches for vital parts of the Next Generation Rotorcraft. Technology changes fast, and we cannot let our military capabilities be left behind. By investing our resources and channelling our development through a multinational framework, we are making sure Allies will be equipped for the best available equipment, helping NATO to maintain our technological edge. Developing a capability of this size and importance takes years of meticulous planning and development, and I am glad to see that the Allies are taking the necessary steps to ensure this project keeps pace with the latest in advanced technologies. Allies’ investment in three years concept stage, a total of €26.7 million, highlights their commitment to its success. This demonstrates NATO’s ability to respond to identified shortfalls by prioritising interoperability, efficiency and innovation. With that, let me finish by wishing you the very best for the continued success of this project. I’m looking forward to seeing it progress in the years to come and to many more similar ceremonies to come as well. Thank you all.