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Participation of the Czech defense industry to AGS: RETIA and ICZ

Published : 22 November 2012
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On 20th November 2012, the Czech company RETIA and CASSIDIAN, the defense and security branch of European consortium EADS, have officially initiated their mutual cooperation within the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.

This project is aiming at giving to NATO commanders a ground observation capability thanks to 5 HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) American UAVs RQ-4 Global Hawk and associated ground stations. This program was launched in September 2009 with the signature of a program MoU by 13 NATO Member States [2] that committed themselves to buying the system and making it available for the Alliance.

It will consist of three segments – air, ground, support – which will be organized in a network-centric structure operated from the Sigonella Base in Sicily and should be fully operational in 2017.

Three main bodies are managing the program:

  • The NATO AGS Management Organization is responsible on behalf of the above-mentioned 13 Member States of managing and supervising the program itself;
  • The AGS International Office, located in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE) is in charge of the system’s operational integration and capabilities employment;
  • The NATO AGS Management Agency (NAGSMA) is the operator that will buy the system.

According to the mechanisms negotiated by the Participating States, their respective defense industries will be associated to the system development.
During the Chicago NATO Summit in May 2012, the Northrop-Gruman company has signed a contract of 1.7 md $ which makes it the prime contractor of the program, in charge of the provision of air and ground segments.

One of the program main subcontractors is CASSIDIAN. It is responsible for the development of the Mobile Ground Segment in cooperation with companies of 6 Participating States, including the Czech companies RETIA a.s. and ICZ a.s..

It is in that particular context that occurred the meeting of 20th November in Pardubice, seat of the RETIA company, with presence of high regional and defense ministry representatives. RETIA a.s. was founded in 1993 by radar and communications experts. It has now around 200 people with a 2011 turnover of 204 million Czech crowns (around 8 M€). It is specialized in development and production of electronic components in three main fields:

  • Defense (modernization of weapon systems, radars, development of C4I systems);
  • Security (systems for people detection and localization in difficult areas);
  • Commercial services (solutions for recording calls and observation of customer service quality).

Thanks to its expertise in the field of defense, RETIA has been selected to participate to the AGS program as subcontractor to CASSIDIAN. It should provide containers equipped with electronics that should be mounted on truck chassis.

The second Czech company that should also cooperate with CASSIDIAN within the framework of AGS is «ICZ a.s.» through its two sister companies specialized in the defense electronics domain (ALES; air control management, command and control systems, radars; and DELINFO: integrated software and network solution providers).

Brigadier General Pavel Bulant, the Czech National Armament Director, recalled the importance for his country to be associated to the AGS project: «from the Czech Republic point of view, participation to such a prestigious program is important, mainly because we get information and experiences we otherwise would not be able to obtain because the Czech Republic is not capable to buy such an expensive system on her own».


[1Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States

[2Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States