NATO Strengthens Satellite Capabilities with Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space

NATO's satellite capacity proved inadequate in Ukraine, prompting the alliance to integrate commercial satellite data to improve information collection.
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  • 03:25 PM, July 10, 2024
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NATO Strengthens Satellite Capabilities with Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space

NATO has announced a new initiative, the Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS), to bolster its satellite capabilities by utilizing data, products, and services from both national and commercial satellites of its member states.

This move aims to improve the alliance's situational awareness in conflict zones and enhance its operational effectiveness during times of conflict.

At the NATO summit in Washington on July 9, Dutch Minister of Defence Ruben Brekelmans signed a declaration of intent for the APSS program. NATO currently lacks its own satellites and relies on the satellite capacity provided by its allies. The APSS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed ensures that NATO's information needs are better met by incorporating commercial satellite data.

Minister Brekelmans emphasized the urgency of strengthening NATO's satellite capabilities due to the worsening global security situation. He stated, "For credible deterrence and defence, it is essential that the alliance has a strong information position. This is indispensable for the current warfare, the safety of our military personnel, and society."

During the conflict in Ukraine, NATO's existing satellite capacity was found to be inadequate. The alliance could only gather a limited amount of necessary battlefield data from space. Technological advancements have made commercial satellites capable of meeting military information requirements, prompting NATO to integrate commercial satellite data to improve information collection efficiency and effectiveness.

NATO plans to merge satellite capacities from the Netherlands and other member states to streamline information gathering and expedite decision-making in conflict situations. Dutch companies' satellite capacities are also expected to be made available to NATO as part of this initiative.

Alongside the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the United States, and Sweden have also signed the MoU, signaling their commitment to enhancing NATO's satellite capabilities.

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