The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) with its head office in Capellen, Luxembourg, brings together in a single organisation NATO’s logistics and procurement including armaments acquisition support activities, providing integrated multinational support solutions for NATO, NATO and EU member nations as well as partner nations as its customers.
A dedicated area of NSPA’s life cycle management is the support to Night Vision and Optoelectronics (NVO) equipment. The support is being provided under the legal framework of the NSPA NVO Support Partnership established in 2015 that currently connects four nations with similar interests. Several additional nations are interested to join the Partnership.
In the context of the NSPA Support Partnership, NSPA enables consolidation of requirements and offers a highly effective platform for multinational cooperation. Considerable savings for the participating nations have been achieved repeatedly.
Life Cycle Management Support
The expression “NVO” embraces a huge variety of equipment types: stand-alone, integrated or networked thermal imaging, image intensifying, UV, optical and laser systems used for observation, surveillance, target acquisition, aim, location or target designation including their aiming platform or control system, as well as related accessories and support equipment. For all these types of equipment NSPA provides logistics products and services:
- Acquisition of end items, spare parts and related accessories
- In-Service Support at NSPA or via contractors
- Project Management and Technical / Engineering support
- Training and Documentation
Besides fulfilling the customer requirement in scope, time and at the required quality, a primary aim of most activities is the consolidation between the participating nations to a maximum extent in order to obtain economies of scale and ultimately cost-effective solutions.
With its thorough technical and logistics expertise, NSPA can assist Nations to determine their technical requirements, develop together with the subject matter experts of the Nations a statement of work and manage the entire acquisition process. NSPA’s technical experts work in integrated project teams side by side with their colleagues specialised in procurement. Acquisition projects can range from a major requirement-based competition for a certain NVO capability to procuring authorised and certified spare parts.
In-Service Support and Maintenance Facilities
One real advantage is that NSPA possesses a dedicated and qualified optic and electronic workshop for particular NVO equipment. This unique capability allows consolidating and executing maintenance support at a lower cost level. User nations of a certain type of equipment can jointly invest in NSPA’s capability instead of individually spending on a full national test and maintenance capability. The cost saving is immediately visible when the initial investment can be shared between nations. This in-house capability also allows NSPA, when requested by its customers, to take over spares and test equipment from national maintenance depots, for example, when Nations decide to close a facility. Several examples of this continuity already exist and provide evidence of this invaluable service.
The in-house maintenance support is complemented by dedicated support contracts with industry to ensure that all equipment that is in service by the member nations can be maintained and serviced in the most cost-efficient manner.
Technical / Engineering Support
All services and logistics support provided by NSPA staff are centred on knowledge and experience of the subject matter experts at NSPA. Continuous training efforts coupled with low job rotation allow nations to utilise a unique capability. Permanent exchange and cooperation with the national experts through recurring dedicated technical and logistic working groups between NSPA and the member nations further contribute to building- and sustaining this knowledge.
NSPA’s capabilities and resources complement those of the member Nations in the area of NVO. Consolidation savings have been achieved and the promotion of cooperation further improves the availability and interoperability of nation’s NVO systems. Proven achievements and the available expertise motivate NSPA to promote the expansion of the NVO Support Partnership. The services are available to its customer nations.
Thomas Willmann is Section Chief Electro-Optics & GPS Support Section at NSPA.