Gro Jære, Director General of the Norwegian Defence Material Agency (NDMA), signed an agreement with the US Government worth approximately NOK five-billion kroner ($502 million) regarding the acquisition of AMRAAM-D air-to-air missiles to equip the F-35s of the Norwegian Air Force. The AMRAAM-D will serve as the main weapon used to defend Norwegian airspace for the next several decades and represents the single largest procurement ever of weapons for the Norwegian Armed Forces. In July 18,the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Norway of AIM-120 C-8 or D Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM-D) and related equipment.
“This is a very important agreement both for Norway’s defensive capabilities and US-Norwegian defence cooperation. We are very pleased that Norway now also will have access to such advanced missiles, and that we are carrying out such a major acquisition of medium-range air-to-air missiles that will unleash the potential of the F-35, which in turn will strengthen our future defensive capabilities. This is especially important in light of today’s security situation,”Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram said.
“Through this agreement Norwegian F-35s will also gain access to a weapon that itself has major improvements in terms of sensors and range, and which will be effective against everything from drones and cruise missiles to other combat aircraft,” Gro Jære, Director General of the NDMA said.
AMRAAM-D is an upgraded version of a missile that has previously been used by both the F-16 and the air defence system NASAMS. Featuring more powerful propulsion, improved guidance systems and a data link, the missile will give Norwegian combat aircraft a better ability to combat the full width of modern air threats. The F-35 is equipped with sensors that enable it to locate and identify a wider range of threats over much greater distances than previous aircraft. Delivery of the missiles will continue through 2028. The cost of the procurement is part of the overall cost estimates for the Norwegian F-35 program, where large parts of the remaining funds are intended for various weapons, including the AMRAAM-D and the Joint Strike Missile.
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, is an American beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. It is 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter, and employs active transmit-receive radar guidance instead of semi-active receive-only radar guidance. The AIM-120D is an upgraded version of the AMRAAM with improvements in almost all areas, including 50% greater range (than the AIM-120C-7) and better guidance over its entire flight envelope yielding an improved kill probability (Pk). Raytheon began testing the D model on August 5, 2008, the company reported that an AIM-120D launched from an F/A-18F Super Hornet passed within lethal distance of a QF-4 target drone at the White Sands Missile Range. The range of the AIM-120D is classified, but is thought to extend to about 100 miles (160 km)