Norway installs a digital electro-optical sensor system at NASAMS
OSLO, NORWAY — In the coming years, Norway will modernize all of its available NASAMS air defense systems. The German company Rheinmetall will have to replace the multi-sensor platforms that are currently integrated into the Norwegian NASAMS.
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Rheinmetall did not disclose the value of the contract signed today, January 3, with the Norwegian Ministry of Defense, but the press release makes it clear that the process of replacing the aging multi-sensor systems will have to be carried out in 2025.
The Norwegian NASAMS is currently operating the MSP500 multi-sensor system. Some of the air defense systems use a newer version – MSP500. However, both models will be replaced by their latest equivalent – the MSP500digital.
MSP500 and MSP600
The two multi-sensor systems that will be replaced are as different as they are the same. The MSP500 is designed to work in all weather conditions. This platform operates day and night and is designed to monitor, identify and track targets.
The MSP500 platform is equipped with a thermal camera and a daylight camera. The platform also features a laser range finder, a video tracker, and a vertical sensor. The same equipment builds the newer model – MSP600.
The main difference between the two variants of the multi-sensor system is that the MSP600 provides more information in the areas of tactical and navigational navigation, as well as in fire control. Rheinmetall says the MSP600 operates in passive mode, making it undetectable. Thus, it can not only complement the radar capabilities of NASAMS but in some cases act as a substitute for radar.
The MSP600digital combines all the features of the MSP500 and MSP600 but is their digital successor. The multi-sensor platform has better performance than the other two platforms, including HD compatibility.
The MSP600digital manages a very large suite of electro-optical sensors. The platform is characterized by four axes. It has equivalent equipment to the other two platforms, but due to the HD compatibility, it provides a very high-resolution HD picture.
Ukraine “lit up” NASAMS
Although NASAMS has been an air defense system since the late 1990s, its delivery to Ukraine was the first time it was introduced to the non-weapon system-obsessed public.
NASAMS is a joint venture between the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace and the American firm Raytheon. The system has a short and medium range and is a ground-based air defense system. Its countermeasures are aimed at various aerial targets, excluding ballistic missiles. NASAMS counters threats from cruise missiles, drones, attack drones, fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters.
Its range is between 50 and 120 km depending on the type of missile it uses (AMRAAM or AMRAAM-ER). NASAMS can intercept air threats also at different altitudes – from 21 km altitude to approximately 36 km altitude. The air defense system is in service in 13 countries, including Ukraine as a donation.
It is said
Late last year, in November, the delivered NASAMS system is said to have shot down a fourth-generation Russian Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jet. Some social media shared a video of the allegations. However, the video does not show either the moment of impact, the type of aircraft, or whether the missile that was launched to intercept it was from NASAMS.
The claims may turn out to be false, as according to their authors, the Su-35 Flanker-E was shot down over the Bakhmut area. However, it is clear from official statements of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense that the delivered NASAMS is located in the Kyiv region, and not so far into the eastern front of the war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian sources say that in defense of Kyiv in recent months, when Russia has launched almost weekly missiles and airstrikes, NASAMS has been able to successfully deal with Iran’s Shahed series kamikaze drones.
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