22 July 1999
The ACCS Programme
NATO Air Command And Control System
The NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) Management Agency (NACMA) has signed the first contract with industry for the implementation of the NATO ACCS programme. The contract, worth some US $500M was signed on Thursday 22nd 1999 with Air Command Systems International (ACSI), a French-registered company formed by two shareholders , Raytheon of the USA and Thomson-CSF of France. It provides for the development and testing of the ACCS system core software over a 69-month implementation schedule. Installation will initially occur in validation sites in Belgium, France, Germany and Italy who are expected to sign their respective contracts shortly. Thereafter, replication sites will be implemented in the remaining nations in the programme.
All NATO nations, including the three new members, participate in the ACCS programme, with the exception of Iceland and Luxembourg who nevertheless are involved in the funding process. The programme is intended to combine, and automate, at the tactical level the planning, tasking and task execution of all air operations. The system was conceived in the 1980s, but the programme effectively began in 1992 when
the North Atlantic Council (NAC) agreed to the initial implementation of ACCS to a first level of operational capability (LOC 1) in both static and deployable configurations. The award of the contract signals not only the start of implementation, but also the culmination of 7 years of often intense debate over some difficult issues such as industrial benefit sharing.
Two of the principal features of the ACCS will be its open architecture and the emphasis which is being placed on off the shelf products. Both are intended to permit evolution of the system without the need for major developmental effort. Additional requirements in the areas of Theatre Missile Defence and Airborne Ground Surveillance are already being addressed.
NACMA was established in January 1991. It is the procurement and implementing body of the NATO ACCS Management Organization (NACMO), established by charter and approved by the North Atlantic Council (NAC) in July 1990.
The principal task of NACMA is to conduct the central planning, system engineering, implementation and configuration management for the ACCS programme, to ensure system integrity, integration and interoperability. The Agency is headed by a General Manager who is assisted by a Deputy General Manager. The current approved establishment of the Agency is 79 civilian staff, organized into three operational divisions and two support offices. The Agency is further assisted in its work by national experts from NATO nations and by a representative of the Major NATO Commanders.