LONDON, February 15. /TASS/. Representatives of 17 NATO states and Sweden signed an agreement to establish a common satellite intelligence network. The document was signed by the UK and Sweden, as well as Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and France. The initiative is also supported by the US and Finland, NATO said Wednesday.
According to the British Government’s website, the document declares a desire to "develop a framework for improved surveillance from space, through multinational cooperation and sharing of national space-based capabilities."
The signatories "will explore: the potential for sharing data from national surveillance satellites; processing, exploitation, and dissemination of data from within national capabilities; and funding to purchase data from commercial companies," the website reads.
It also underscores that the need for such cooperation was demonstrated by the conflict in Ukraine.
The initiative, named ‘Allied Persistent Surveillance from Space Initiative,’ or APSS, will become operational in 2025.
Prior to the meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in Brussels that ends on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance will approve a decision on establishment of a virtual network that would unite information from commercial and state satellites, both civilian and military, for intelligence purposes, including strategic defense and detection of missile launches. Later, NATO specified that the Aquila virtual satellite group will be established for that purpose.
The alliance underscored that the new initiative will " transform the way NATO gathers and uses data from space, significantly improve NATO’s intelligence and surveillance, and provide essential support to NATO’s military missions and operations.".