Raytheon and the Royal Norwegian Air Force have performed the debut launch of an AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II short-range missile from a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) launcher.

The launch took place during a demonstration test last month at the Andoya Test Center in Norway. During the flight test, the Sidewinder missile engaged and destroyed a target.

The missile is expected to add a new layer for ground-based defence. Raytheon added enhancements to the Sidewinder, including a redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device for improved ground handling and in-flight safety.

Raytheon’s AIM-9X Sidewinder can be deployed to perform air-to-air engagements, surface-attack and surface-launch missions without the need for modifications.

The missile can be easily installed on a range of aircraft, including the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, E/A-18G, F-22 and F-35 combat jets.

It is in service with the US Armed Forces and 24 foreign military sales partners.

Core components of a NASAMS fire unit include a Kongsberg Fire Distribution Center, missile launchers, and Raytheon Sentinel radar and interceptors.

The air defence system features Raytheon’s AMRAAM missile as the baseline short to medium-range interceptor.

Raytheon air warfare systems vice-president Kim Ernzen said: “This flight test opened the door for NASAMS customers to add a vital, short-range layer to their ground-based air defence.

“Pairing Sidewinder with AMRAAM means forces can have complementary interceptors with a mix of sensors to better engage and destroy threats that may attempt to overwhelm a defence system.”

NASAMS is produced by Raytheon in partnership with Kongsberg. It can identify, engage and destroy threats, including enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle and cruise missiles. It is part of the air defence system that protects the US National Capital Region.

NASAMS is in use with seven countries, including the US. Two more nations have placed orders for the system.