The beginning of November brought news from the Ministry of Defense, announcing a significant agreement between Norway, Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA) and the American firm Raytheon to advance the development of the NASAMS missile system.
Norway and the US Strengthen Defense Cooperation Bjørn Arild Gram [Sp], the Minister of Defense, highlighted in a recent press conference that this new agreement between KDA and Raytheon marks the beginning of a promising era for the NASAMS defense system, enhancing its ability to counter emerging threats.
The ten-year partnership between these entities aims to undertake projects that will increase the efficiency of NASAMS in the face of increasingly complex aerial challenges.
Raytheon Underlines the Importance of Agreement Tom Laliberty of Raytheon highlighted the importance of this pact to consolidate NASAMS ‘ position as the undisputed leader among medium-range defense systems globally.
The Norwegian government plans to submit to the Storting for consideration two essential air defense projects that will be part of the state’s next budget review.
These initiatives include missile acquisitions for NASAMS and the recovery of critical components previously donated to reinforce the country’s defensive infrastructure.
Norwegian Commitment to the Evolution of NASAMS Kjetil Reiten Myhra of Kongsberg Defense emphasized the continuity of this tripartite cooperation to provide NASAMS with greater mobility and operational versatility.
The National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) has been an essential component of American national security, protecting key skies such as those over Washington DC since events such as the 2005 Presidential Inauguration.
Strategic installations such as Fort Belvoir and Carderock NSWC also have the defensive coverage offered by NASAMS.
Lithuania strengthened its security by acquiring NASAMS-3 in 2017, with the delivery of two batteries completed in 2020. Simultaneously, Australia requested Raytheon Australia to develop a NASAMS system for its short-range land defense.
In a $185 million contract, Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace AS [Norway] will provide Raytheon Australia with crucial components for NASAMS under the Land 19 Phase 7B project.
Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne highlighted the prominent role of locally produced components in the Australian version of the NASAMS GBAD following its initial approval in 2017.
Australia successfully concluded fire distribution center evaluations for its NASAMS systems in September 2021. This phase was followed by the completion of the Mk2 canister for NASAMS launchers in February 2022, with three units promised to be delivered that year. Qatar also bolstered its arsenal with AMRAAM-ER missiles included in its NASAMS acquisition in 2019.
On July 1, 2022, the US assured considerable support of $820 million to Ukraine to face the confrontation with Russia. This assistance included the NASAMS systems as part of the USAI. A problem highlighted by a US defense representative is the obsolescence of Ukrainian defense systems, inherited from the Soviet era, posing a possible replacement with more advanced equipment, including Norwegian options and obsolete units.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) began procuring two NASAMS batteries for Ukraine on July 29, 2022, with the intention of including twelve mobile launchers and six missiles in each. On August 24, the future shipment of six additional NASAMS units with extra ammunition under the USAI was communicated, with deliveries expected to begin in approximately two months, according to Pentagon announcements at the end of September.
Upon arrival in November 2022, the first NASAMS batteries in Ukraine played a crucial role, with a Pentagon report on November 15 noting a 100% success rate against Russian missiles. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy confirmed this achievement, reporting ten successful interceptions out of ten attempts.
The US has asked Middle Eastern countries to collaborate to obtain more NASAMS systems. With current production timelines, building them from scratch could exceed two years. Greg Hayes, CEO of Raytheon, noted that the Middle East systems would be replaced with new ones as they are produced.
Hayes, however, corrected the perception that two years would be required for delivery of the new NASAMS to the Middle East, stating that construction time does not equate to waiting time. As of April 2023, the Ukrainian air forces reported more than 100 interceptions of hostile missiles and drones with NASAMS.