Northrop Grumman is developing its links with NATO's three newest members to identify companies able to support its NATAR proposal for the alliance's air-to-ground surveillance requirement.

NATO awarded Northrop a two-year NATAR study contract in 1999 for a radar based on the Radar Technology Insertion Programme (RTIP) for the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) mounted on an Airbus airliner.

European and Canadian manufacturers will help develop, build and support avionics and systems components for the NATAR, says Jon Campbell, Northrop manager international programmes. The company has established a series of links throughout NATO to support its programme.

Campbell says companies have been identified in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - NATO's three newest members.

The Czech Republic's Aero Vodochody is closest to joining the programme, says Campbell, needing to complete the paperwork for authority to receive data.

In Poland, four organisations have been identified - PZL Warszawa, PZL Mielec, PZL Rzeszów and the Polish Institute of Technology. Requests have been sent to the US Embassy in Warsaw to initiate the contacts process.

Campbell says the process is less developed in Hungary.

If the NATAR studies develop into a procurement programme, NATO will acquire six platforms to be operated by a multinational unit similar to the alliance's airborne early warning force.

Source: Flight International