The National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) is a medium-range, network-centric air defence system designed and developed jointly by Raytheon and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, primarily for the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF).
The system can be deployed to identify, engage and destroy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as protect high-value assets and mass population centres against air-to-surface threats.
The missile system is in service with the RNoAF, the Dutch Army, the Spanish Army and the US National Capital Region, Finland and an undisclosed nation. Raytheon and Kongsberg entered a ten-year agreement in June 2015 to expand their partnership on NASAMS until 2025.
NASAMS II, an upgraded version of the NASAMS, uses new radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker identification and destruction of the targets. The upgraded system has been in service since 2007 and ordered by a number of countries, including Norway, Finland and the Netherlands.
NASAMS design and features
The NASAMS air defence system features network centric, open architecture that provides increased survivability against electronic countermeasures. The missile system can engage 72 targets simultaneously in active and passive modes. The primary weapon of the system is AIM-120 AMRAAM.
Raytheon MPQ-64F1 Sentinel high-resolution, 3D pencil beam surveillance radar is fitted to the NASAMS to detect and track the targets. The missile system is also fitted with AMRAAM launchers and a passive electro-optic (EO) and infra-red (IR) sensor, hard-real-time communication network and an embedded and standalone mission planning tool.
NASAMS missile tests
The Spanish Army successfully conducted a live-fire exercise of the NASAMS with four AMRAAMs in November 2008. A tactical live-fire exercise of NASAMS was conducted by the RNoAF in June 2011. The AMRAAM-ER missile was successfully test fired from the NASAMS system for the first time in 2016.
The air defence system successfully test fired AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile in 2011. Raytheon and the RNoAF conducted maiden launch of the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II short-range missile from the NASAMS launcher in May 2019. The RNoAF conducted a test firing of ground-based Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) from the NASAMS in July 2012.
Multi-missile launch capabilities of NASAMS
The NASAMS is equipped with three multi-mission launchers, each carrying up to six ready-to-fire missiles inside the protective canisters. It can be carried on truck and rail. The system features a 360° defence capability and is suitable for day and night, all-weather operations.
The NASAMS is fitted with a fire distribution centre (FDC) command-and-control unit to perform the battle management command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (BMC4I) functions. It is also used for data link management, track identification and correlation, friendly protection, jam strobe triangulation, threat evaluation, weapon allocation and kill assessment.
The FDC and radars are connected using Link 16, JRE, Link 11, Link 11B, LLAPI and ATDL-1 data links.
Orders and deliveries of the advanced SAM The NASAMS with AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs) achieved initial operational capability with the RNoAF in 1994. A total of four NASAMS systems were acquired by the Spanish Army in 2003.
In December 2006, the Dutch Army signed a contract with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace for the upgraded NASAMS II air defence system, which uses EADS TRML-3D mobile surveillance radars.
NASAMS II was delivered to the RNoAF in 2007. Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace was further awarded a Nkr48m ($7.49m) contract by the RNoAF to provide a Link 16 tactical data link for the NASAMS II anti-aircraft system in August 2005.
The Finland Ministry of Defence placed an order for the NASAMS II in April 2009.
Raytheon was contracted by the RNoAF in December 2011 to provide high-mobility launchers (HMLs) for the modernisation of the NASAMS. The company delivered the first HML in June 2013, as well as upgraded electronics for the canister launcher fleet, as part of the contract.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force placed a contract in January 2013 to upgrade existing missile launchers with new electronics and software for increased performance and lifetime extension of the NASAMS II system.
Oman’s Ministry of Defence awarded a $1.28bn contract to Raytheon in January 2014 for NASAMS, ground support equipment, full training package, and technical assistance.
In April 2014, Kitrons secured an Nkr56m ($6.75m) order from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to provide military communications equipment for the NASAMS air defence system to be supplied to Oman. The equipment will be delivered in 2016.
In April 2017, NASAMS was identified as a solution by the Australian Government for a ground-based air defence capability for the Australian Army under its Land 19 Phase 7B Project. A contract was formally announced in March 2019 following risk mitigation and the Australian Government’s approval.
The contract involves the supply of two NASAMS batteries to the Australian Defence Force. The delivery of the first battery is expected in 2022, with the initial operational capability anticipated to be achieved in 2023 and the final operational capability in 2025.
In October 2017, the Indonesian Government signed a contract worth $77m with Kongsberg for the supply of two batteries of the NASAMS air defence system.
Hungary awarded a contract worth €410m ($490.45m) to Kongsberg and Raytheon Missiles & Defense for the medium-range air defence system in November 2020. It became the 12th country in the world to procure the NASAMS system.