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NATO allies sign air-to-ground munitions pact

By Ryan Maass   |   Feb. 11, 2016 at 12:29 PM
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Eight NATO allies signed a memorandum of understanding to further cooperation on the multinational provision of air-to-ground precision-guided munitions.

Under the agreement, participating allies will strengthen their procurement and management of their munitions inventories. The initiative is part of the Danish-led Smart Defense project, introduced by NATO leadership during a security policy conference in Munich in February 2011.

The project originally included six NATO member countries including Denmark, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic. The project expanded in 2015 with the addition of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Precision-guided munitions, also referred to as PGMs, smart weapons, or smart bombs, are weapons designed to hit specific targets while avoiding collateral damage.

The Smart Defense project aims to alleviate shortages of PGMs. Danish National Armaments director Lt. Gen. Per Pugholm Olsen stressed the need to avoid munitions shortages in September 2014.

"Danish experiences from the air operation over Libya in 2011 showed us that national munitions stockpiles are not always sufficient," Olsen said. "Therefore we must pursue innovative and more flexible approaches towards provision of munitions in general and specifically air-to-ground precision-guided munitions."

The signing of the memorandum of understanding comes as the allies are also requesting support from the United States for the Smart Defense project.

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