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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). The contract provided the development and testing of the ACCS system core software over a 69-month implementation schedule. The paradox emerging is that those systems ACCS should have replaced have adapted into today’s requirements at a significantly less cost than the ACCS program.

NATO’s Air Command and Control System (ACCS), is still said to be pursuit the final stretch of software testing and validation, with national-level replication sites beginning to roll out across the alliance. It has failed validation in Belgium, Germany, France and Italy. Full operational capability was scheduled in 2008, but appears to slide even beyond 2015.

Despite the significant delays and costly overruns, NATO principal procurement agency is preparing to award TRS approximately EUR750 million (USD1 billion) in missile defence and air C2 integration and modernisation contracts during the next two years. The overall ACCS project cost have already exceeded EUR2000 million (USD4 billion).

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

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