In Recent years the NATO Alliance has faced increasing security challenges. The very nature of the potential threats are changing, including terrorism, Unmanned Air Vehicles, cyber security, conflicts in out-of-area operations, and proliferation of Ballistic Missile technology. To manage the evolving threat environment NATO requires a robust Command and Control System that provides a multi-layer defence shield
It is in this context that ThalesRaytheonSystems designed and delivered the Air Command and Control System (ACCS) to provide NATO with the flexibility it needs to face future challenges. The system represents NATO's first-ever integrated ACCS, successfully laying the groundwork for a long-term and trusted cooperation.
ACCS changes the face of air operations in Europe, providing NATO with a comprehensive approach that spans planning, tasking, monitoring and mission execution.
The system replaces a multitude of national and NATO systems, offering common training opportunities, standard operating procedures and more centralized maintenance for all NATO members, thereby lowering system support costs while boosting manning flexibility.
To create a Joint Environment Picture (JEP), currently the ACCS system sites integrate about 300 sensor sites, and multiple Data Link connections. The JEP information is shared across the ACCS communications network ensuring common situational awareness.
ACCS is designed to ensure NATO interoperability with legacy systems and with other evolving NATO capabilities. ACCS is fully NATO Standards based and compliant with NATO Architecture Framework and non-proprietary formats for data exchange and information sharing. This approach will enable interface connections to future systems such as Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS), Friendly Force Tracking (FFT) and Ballistic Missile Defense systems.
The ACCS system today has been installed a total of 17 locations. The first sites such as ARS Poggio Renatico Italy, and the NATO DARS unit also at Poggio, and the CAOC Uedem Germany, and the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense Operations Center Ramstein Germany have reached various stages of operational capability. The remaining installed sites are in various stages of testing and transition to operations. In future NATO plans to continue the ACCS Replication process into the next 10 locations.
"ACCS is already composed of 1000 workstations and is set to cover 10 million square kilometers in Europe guaranteeing optimum protection of threatened areas."
The ACCS program also provides NATO with a capability to support Air C2 for deployable operations. The Deployable ARS (DARS) is an important resource for NATO training or out-of-area operations. The DARS unit is based at Poggio Renatico in Italy as part of NATO’s Deployable Air Command and Control Center. The DARS has the same basic operating software and the same overall capabilities as the static ACCS sites that are based in the NATO nations. DARS provides the tactical level of air operations for Surveillance, Identification, Tactical Data Links, Air Mission Control and Air Traffic Control.
Together, they consist of operations and communication shelters, satellite terminals, radios, vehicles, containers and deployable support packages, allowing for operational planning and tasking capability. These components are scalable depending on the mission needs and were declared operational in 2014.