Updated: 18-Sep-2002 Week of 16-22 September 2002

16 Sept. 2002

NATO countries to ratify agreement on interoperability of unmanned air vehicles

NATO countries have begun the ratification of a major agreement that will allow the Allies to share information obtained by their Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) during military operations.

UAVs are the cutting edge of military technology. They are small, pilot-less aircraft used to provide video or still images of target areas. They fly very slowly and can circle over an area for many hours. Their effectiveness was demonstrated by military operations, notably in Afghanistan, and earlier during the Gulf War.

The agreement is detailed in what NATO calls a "STANAG" - a Standardization Agreement document. STANAG 4586 sets out the specifications of a common ground station for UAV's used by NATO forces.

Implementation of the agreement will enable information between different national UAV's to be shared via common ground stations, which in turn will mean that NATO and national commanders will have far greater control over the use of UAV's in military operations. The agreement is part of the overall effort to enhance the Alliance's operational capabilities.

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