Raytheon and Kongsberg agreed to make next-generation NASAMS

On the first day of November, the Ministry of Defense publicized an accord between Norway, Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace [KDA], and Raytheon, an American corporation, concerning the advanced progression of the NASAMS air defense system. 

Spain has deployed the short- to medium-range NASAMS in Latvia
Photo credit: Kongsberg

Defense Minister, Bjørn Arild Gram [Sp], elucidated in a press release on Tuesday that this cooperation agreement with KDA of Norway and Raytheon of America establishes a robust platform for advancing the battlefield-proven NASAMS air defense system to counter future adversities. 

This pact, resulting from a decade-long collaboration among the trio, intends to initiate specific projects that will enhance the capabilities of NASAMS against the increasingly sophisticated and intricate aerial threats of the future. 

Norway installs a digital electro-optical sensor system at NASAMS

Land & Air Defense Systems President at Raytheon, Tom Laliberty, marked the agreement as a significant juncture in fortifying the status of NASAMS as the unparalleled medium-range air defense system globally. 

In the ensuing tasks, the government envisages proposing two air defense projects to the Storting for consent in the imminent adjustment proposition to the state budget 2023 under the aegis of the Ministry of Defense this fall. 

These projects encompass purchasing missiles for the NASAMS air defense system and the re-acquisition of vital components donated to the air defense system. As a consequence of the donation, a proposal altering the purview of combat air defense will also be presented. 

Russian helplessness - both NASAMS had a 100% success rate
Photo credit: Twitter

“Anticipating the sustained, triumvirate collaboration between Kongsberg, Raytheon, and the Ministry of Defense, we aim to refine NASAMS further, equipping it with demanded mobility and operational flexibility for the protection of individuals and essential assets in subsequent times,” declared Kjetil Reiten Myhra, the division director for Integrated Defense Systems at Kongsberg Defence.

HASAMS history

The National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System [NASAMS] has been integral to US air defense, particularly in protecting the aerial borders of Washington, D.C., most notably during the 2005 Presidential Inauguration. Locations such as Fort Belvoir and the Carderock NSWC, which are in close vicinity to the White House, likewise benefit from NASAMS protection. 

Joint defense between Spanish NASAMS and US AH-64 Apache
Photo credit: YouTube

In a bid to enhance its air defense capabilities, Lithuania placed an order for the NASAMS-3 in 2017, receiving two batteries by 2020. In that same year, Australia issued a single-supplier-limited Request for Tender [RFT] to Raytheon Australia, tasking them with the development of a NASAMS that would serve as the Australian Defence Force’s short-range ground-based air-defense system. 

US allowed Kuwait to acquire NASAMS in a multi-billion dollar deal
Photo credit: Blitz.bg

In a deal worth US$185 million, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS [Norway] was tapped by Raytheon Australia in June 2019 to deliver significant NASAMS components. Raytheon Australia, as the prime contractor, is slated to deliver the NASAMS to the Australian Government Land 19 Phase 7B program. 

Australian-produced components will feature heavily in their version of NASAMS GBAD, as stated by Defense Minister Marise Payne following the first-pass approval in April 2017. 

In September 2021, two Fire Distribution Centres for the Australian NASAMS successfully passed factory acceptance tests. Following this accomplishment, by February 2022, the Mk2 canister for NASAMS launchers was completed, with plans to deliver three canister launchers within the same year. Qatar, meanwhile, invested in AMRAAM-ER missiles, which were included in a NASAMS purchase in 2019. 

Norway installs a digital electro-optical sensor system at NASAMS
Photo credit: Kongsberg

The United States, on 1 July 2022, committed to providing $820 million in military assistance to Ukraine amid Russian aggression. The aid package, delivered through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative [USAI], includes NASAMS air defense systems. 

A particular challenge presented by the aid package, as outlined by a US defense official, is the outdated Soviet-era air defense systems currently in place in Ukraine. The plan to replace these with more modern ones may involve sourcing from Norwegian reserves or utilizing retired units. 

The United States Department of Defense [DoD] initiated the process of obtaining two NASAMS batteries, each comprising twelve mobile launchers and six missiles, for Ukraine on 29 July 2022. The DoD also announced on 24 August 2022 that an additional six NASAMS units “with additional munitions” would be supplied under the USAI. Delivery, according to a Pentagon announcement in late September 2022, was expected to commence in approximately two months. 

Lithuania to Receive Kongsberg NASAMS
Photo: Kongsberg

Upon arrival in Ukraine in early November 2022, the first set of NASAMS batteries proved instrumental; the Pentagon reported its 100% success rate against Russian missile attacks on 15 November 2022. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy affirmed this success, revealing that the system was able to intercept ten out of ten targeted missiles. 

To procure more systems, the US government has sought assistance from Middle Eastern nations. Given current production rates, manufacturing NASAMS from scratch could stretch upwards of two years. The systems sourced from the Middle East would be eventually replaced with newly produced ones, according to Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes.  

Hayes, however, contested the notion that the Middle Eastern countries would have to wait two years for their new NASAMS. He clarified, “Just because it takes 24 months to build, it doesn’t mean it’s going to take 24 months to get in the country.” By April 2023, the Ukrainian Air Force claimed that NASAMS had intercepted over 100 antagonist missiles and drones.

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