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Over the past 15 years, the number of hostile scenarios NATO has to face has dramatically increased. With more nations seeking to build missile systems; developing a robust, multi-layer defense shield has become a priority.

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 partnership.

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, ACCS integrates about 300 sensor sites, interconnects more than 20 air control centres, and processes, for countries using the same set of software and hardware, more than 3000 inputs.

In addition, ACCS is fully interoperable with Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) and Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR), effectively strengthening airspace management, surveillance and air traffic control.

There are now three sites in operation, including a real-time mission execution site in Italy, a mission planning and tasking site in Germany along with a deployable unit. Fifteen other sites have been installed and the gradual setup of additional sites is continuing with more than 30 planned for the project.

ACCS is already composed of 1600 workstations and is set to cover 10 million square kilometers in Europe guaranteeing optimum protection of threatened areas.

To support NATO out-of-area operations, NATO’s ACCS also includes a Deployable Air Command and Control Centre (DACCC) made up of the Deployable Air Control Centre, Recognized Air Picture Production Centre/Sensor Fusion Post (DARS), the deployable Air Operations Centre and the Deployable Sensor Section.

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.

Upon NATO’s request, ThalesRaytheonSystems enhanced ACCS by adding the Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) layer. Using an iterative approach involving 40 US and European companies that act as its main subcontractor base, ThalesRaytheonSystems was able to deliver this critical capability and, by the same token, create a new model of how industrial players should work with NATO.

Recently, the NATO Secretary General declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) following the Steadfast Alliance 2016 Exercise.

As NATO continues to face the constantly evolving threat of ballistic missiles, NATO is poised to move forward to the next stage of integrated air and missile defense command, commonly termed as Territorial Ballistic Missile Defense (Territorial BMD).

Acting as a complex defense umbrella, a Territorial BMD System would serve to better defend the civilian populations of European NATO members, beyond the protection of theaters of operations.

As a transatlantic Joint Venture, ThalesRaytheonSystems possesses a distinct set of attributes. Its teams of world-class engineers are part of two of the world’s most advanced defense technology companies - Raytheon in the United States and Thales in Europe. This makes ThalesRaytheonSystems uniquely positioned to help NATO transition to this next stage.