ACCS

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ACCS is the NATO Air Command and Control System project, planned to replace the NATO Air Command and Control Systems of the nineties. At the highest level it comprised the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) from which the air battle is run. Beneath this level of command is the Air Control Centre (ACC), Recognised Air Picture (RAP) Production Centre (RPC) and Sensor Fusion Post (SFP) combined in one entity called ARS. The ARS is the equivalent to the Control and Reporting Centers (CRCs) operated in the nineties. The ACCS project comprised both static and deployable elements. Under separate funding, NATO intended to procure deployable sensors for the deployable ACCS component (DAC).

Oversight of the project is provided by the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) in Brussels, Belgium (until 2012 executed by the NATO ACCS Management Organisation (NACMA) Board of Directors, senior representatives of the Nations engaged in the NATO ACCS project. The Board is responsible to the Secretary General of NATO for the delivery of the project. The NCIA AIRC2 PO&S is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project scientific support from former [NC3A] (now part of the NCIA), system and software engineering support from Systems Support Center (SSC) (as well part of the NCIA), logistic support from former NAMSA (again part of the NCIA) and operational support from SHAPE. The contract to build ACCS was based on nineties specifications and awarded to the Air Command Systems International (ACSI) consortium in November 1999. Since 2000 ACSI has been a part of ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS).

NATO’s Air Command and Control System (ACCS), despite its delays and failed system requirements, is still allowed to pursuit the final stretch of software testing and validation, with national-level replication sites beginning to roll out across the alliance. It is under validation in Belgium, Germany, France and Italy and expected to be replicated starting 2014. The mobile version is being tested by NATO in Italy.

Because interoperability problems continue to beleaguer the system, ACCS is currently scheduled to reach a limited operational capability in 2015, according to SHAPE and NCIA agreement. The fact that the current NATO Air Command and Control Systems has been continuously evolved in step with the latest Network Centric Joint Warfare standards, the paradox emerging is that ACCS have become less capable and maintainable than the system it was intended to replace. The question remaining is whether NATO will terminate the project or maintain the attempts to field ACCS despite a obsolete system software design less suitable for further evolvement.

NATO ACCS provides the software platform for NATO TMD project. "NATO principal procurement agency is preparing to award approximately EUR750 million (USD1 billion) in missile defence and air C2 integration and modernisation contracts during the next two years, with the first contracts to be handed out in mid-to-late 2014." (Quoted from Jane's Defence Weekly , 03 Oct 2013) The overall ACCS project cost have already exceeded EUR2000 million (USD4 billion).

The Integrated System Support of the ACCS system, if ever fielded, will be provided by the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) supported by in house System Support Center (SSC).

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