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Norway to Upgrade Its NASAMS Air Defense System Based on Experience of Others

National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS)InternationalIndiaAfricaWhile there are 13 nations which use the NASAMS, including Finland, Australia and the US, only Ukraine has experience using this air defense system in real combat, and lost them to Russian Forces. The Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency (NDMA) has turned to a military contractor, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, to upgrade its NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) and communications for troops.The first contract, worth NOK 365 million ($33.6 million), obliges the company to replace certain NASAMS radar parts.NDMA air systems division head Brigadier General Jarle Nergard said the upgrade would ensure that the air defense system maintains its ability to detect, identify, and neutralize airborne threats. It would also provide a similar configuration and functionality with other countries’ detection systems, enhancing interoperability.Kongsberg Vice President Kjetil Myhra said the planned upgrade will make use of «advances developed in collaboration with other NASAMS user nations,» a list that stretches from Australia to Ukraine, of which only the latter has real combat experience using them.The second contract concerns the development of combat radios for the Norwegian military in order to secure the tactical communications of the country’s land forces to the tune of NOK 320 million (nearly $30 million). Kongsberg president Eirik Lie stressed that the radios must be compatible with existing systems in the Norwegian military inventory, yet ready for the integration of future technologies.Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineWhy Can’t Western Weapons Save Day for Ukraine’s Counteroffensive?13 June, 18:18 GMT

What is NASAMS?

The ground-based mobile air defense system, developed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Massachussetts-based Raytheon, is meant to detect, track, intercept and destroy enemy fixed and rotary wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as cruise missile threats.The NASAMS is equipped with three multi-missile launchers (LCHR), each of which carrying up to six AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. The launchers are linked to the Fire Distribution Center (FDC) and can be placed at a distance of up to 25 km.The AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air Missile) is a dual-role missile used in both air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. The missile has an all-weather, beyond-visual-range capability, an effective firing range of 30 km and flight altitude of 21 km (when fired from ground-based NASAMS). Its extended range ground-launched variant (ER) is capable of intercepting targets at longer distances (50 km) and higher altitudes (36 km).

According to Raytheon, NASAMS is operated by 13 countries, including the US, Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia, Australia, Qatar, Hungary, Ukraine and one undisclosed country.

Ukraine received NASAMS as part of the massive and ongoing Western arms assistance, starting from October 2022, when the first two systems were delivered. All in all, the Pentagon has pledged to provide Kiev with eight systems and an unspecified amount of ammunition. In order to deliver the additional systems to Kiev, the Pentagon signed a $1.2 billion contract with Raytheon, with a completion date of November 2025. In January 2023, Canada announced that it would buy one US-made NASAMS system and donate it to Kiev. In March 2023, Norway pledged to deliver two additional systems, having previously trained the Ukrainian forces on how to use them.Nevertheless, the first of the systems was reported as destroyed by the Russian forces near Krasnoarmeysk in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

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