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Mission

NATO FORACS is a NATO project open to all the Alliance initiated by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1974.  The FORACS Ranges measure the bearing, range, position, and heading accuracy of sensors in surface ships, submarines, and maritime aircraft to satisfy national requirements and to meet NATO material readiness standards, through dynamic combat system performance evaluation, thereby providing an essential contribution to naval combat readiness.  

Its mission is to provide NATO Naval units with a regular opportunity to undergo a comprehensive calibration of sensor, weapon, and navigation systems, to clearly defined accuracy standards, against a common geographical reference.

  • for the development and assessment of new and upgraded systems,
  • to validate system performance following new construction and overhaul, and
  • to provide real-time operational capability assessment.

Strategic Context

The FORACS project is available to all NATO nations to provide maritime ships, submarines, aircraft and unmanned systems with facilities to undergo a comprehensive analysis and calibration of sensor, weapon and navigation systems.

It is supported by eight member nations: Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States. These nations fund the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs on a shared basis and actively participate in the project.

The Strategic Commanders, through ACT and SHAPE (ACO), provide operational guidance to the Steering Committee. Along with the NATO Strategic Commanders (SCs), each member nation is represented on the NATO FORACS Steering Committee, which oversees the Project.

Non-participating nations pay a pro-rated cost for services received, which reduces the overall cost to the participating nations and increases efficiency of the sites.

The military requirement for the sites as well as the responsibilities of both Strategic Commands (SCs) is clarified with the Bi-Strategic Commanders (SC) letter1 dated 18 Mar 04, COS SHAPE letter2 dated 18 Oct 06 and the Bi-SC letter3 dated 12 Feb 08.  NATO FORACS is required to meet its mission and be able to respond to the operational commander.  It is an operational requirement that NATO-assigned ships meet the standards prescribed in various STANAGS dealing with sensor and weapon system standards for NATO ships, even if the responsibility remains with the national navies.  The SCs’ required capabilities are clearly stated in the Bi-SC letter dated 12 Feb 08 and are particularly pertinent as NATO maritime forces continue to conduct Operation Active Endeavour (OAE) and other maritime operations such as counter-piracy Operation Ocean Shield (OOS) and NRF certification exercises.

 

1 1740/SHOPM/0060/04-10055 and 3000TC-7411/Ser: NR0065 – The Relationship of the Strategic Commanders with the NATO FORACS Project

 

2 SHJ3/06-201022 NATO FORACS in Wartime and Hostilities

 

3  SHJ3JOPS/2008 – 204030 and 5000TC-70/TT-243/Ser:NU0012 – NATO Naval Forces Sensors and Weapons Accuracy Check Site (NATO FORACS) – Bi-SC Statement of Requirements

 

 

NATO FORACS Greece Range Site