Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) has signed a contract with German defense company Rheinmetall for the upgrade of electro-optical sensors of the NASAMS air defense system. The value of the contract is around NOK 190 million. The sensors to be upgraded are placed on an all-terrain vehicle and look for hostile threats in the air and on the ground, both in light and in the dark, using a TV camera and heat signature (infrared). The sensors also measure the distance to the target with a laser. The electro-optics sensors are carried by the wheeled vehicle. The upgraded equipment will be based on the same platforms. The contract with Rheinmetall includes an upgrade of the current analogue sensor system to the new digital sensor system in the NASAMS.
“This upgrade contributes to a further modernization of Norway’s air defence. Both the technical properties and the functions of the sensors are being improved,” says Gro Jære, Director of Defense Material.
“The work to increase our national ability to protect against long-range precision weapons is ongoing and the modernization of the current NASAMS is one of several measures to strengthen Norway’s air defence. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the need and importance of air defense. We have also recently signed a contract for the purchase of hand-held air defenses for the Army, to strengthen our ability to protect ourselves,” says Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram (Sp).
NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, also known as the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) is a distributed and networked short- to medium-range:?4? ground-based air defense system developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) and Raytheon. NASAMS was the first application of a surface-launched AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile). NASAMS 2 is an upgraded version of the system capable of using Link 16, which has been operational since 2007. As of 2022, NASAMS 3 is the latest upgrade; deployed in 2019, it adds capability to fire AIM-9 Sidewinder and IRIS-T SLS short-range missiles (25 km (16 mi)) and AMRAAM-ER extended-range missiles (50 km (31 mi)), and introduces mobile air-liftable launchers.
Development of NASAMS began in the 1980s when Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) teamed up with Hughes Missile Systems and Hughes Aircraft Ground Systems Group and initiated the program as a cooperative effort for the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF). By the late 1990s, RNoAF formed an integrated ground-based air defense system known as the Norwegian Solution (NORSOL), by connecting NASAMS battle management ARCS stations with two other air defense systems via field wires and radio. The RNoAF together with KDA conducted a mid-life update of NASAMS in the early 2000s, called NASAMS 2, and the upgraded version was first handed over to RNoAF in mid-2006. In April 2019, RNoAF fielded the upgraded NASAMS 3 system; in May 2019, the first live firing tests were conducted.