MADRID ($1=0.98 Euros) — A Spanish NASAMS battery and US Air Force AH-64 Apache attack helicopters have been practicing joint defense missions. These exercises took place in Latvia. They are part of NATO’s deterrence efforts in the Baltic region. Spain deployed NASAMS in June.
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The joint defensive training missions between Spanish and US weapon systems are part of the Boost Sustain exercise. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the reason why the Baltic countries are under special surveillance by NATO forces. The verification of the operational capabilities writes the Spanish InfoDifensa, which is part of the joint efforts for collective defense in the region.
The Spanish NASAMS battery is deployed at the Latvian Lielvarde Air Base. Spain sent 85 soldiers from the Spanish army to her. The battery has three launchers each with six tube containers. The US, for its part, sent 22 AH-64s to Poland in the region, including personnel to maintain the equipment. The US soldiers are from the 7th Squadron of the 17th Cavalry Regiment and are stationed in Poland.
NASAMS in Ukraine
On August 1, BulgarianMilitary.com announced that Washington intends to send NASAMS to Ukraine. The signals are that the US will make this delivery. The chances of this happening are not small, and Ukraine will become the first country to confront NASAMS against Russian air technology.
Such a decision meets political support, but also resistance. The opposition to Ukraine getting NASAMS is because of the possibility that the Russian armed forces could gain access to Western technology if NASAMS is captured. The radar systems are risky, as well as the missiles that the system uses – AIM-120 AMRAAM [Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile], AIM-9 Sidewinder, IRIS-T SLS short-range missiles.
Another reason for disagreement is that NASAMS will have to be modernized, according to the Ukrainian present. And it is: Ukraine does not have Western aircraft, and the system uses Link 16 for communication, as well as the “friend-foe” recognition system.
Nasams system and Amraam missiles
The Nasams system [an acronym in English for the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System], designed by the Kongsberg and Raytheon companies, entered service with the Spanish military in 2003 as part of industrial compensation for the purchase of five Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates built by Navantia for the Norwegian Navy. The firing platform is composed of six container tubes from which the American AIM 120 Amraam missiles are launched. The system also includes a Sentinel radar to detect and track targets with a range of 75 kilometers.
The Spanish anti-aircraft artillery has four batteries, each equipped with a radar, fire control center and two launchers mounted on Iveco trucks. The Nasams system has an effective range of between seven and ten kilometers around the target to be protected, although it can reach 25 kilometers. The rate of fire is two seconds. The Amraam missile, on the other hand, is a fire-and-forget type with a weight of 157 kg, a length of 3.65 meters, a diameter of 178 mm, and a wingspan of 533 mm. It reaches a speed of Mach 2 with a semi-active guidance system and a 35 kg warhead.
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