Norwegian defense contractor Kongsberg has come a step closer to delivering the first batch of National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) canister launchers to Australia with the completion of factory acceptance tests (FAT).
The production milestone for Project LAND 19 Phase 7B, which will deliver a new short-range ground-based air defense (SHORAD) capability for the Australian Army, was witnessed by representatives from Raytheon Australia, the prime contractor on the program.
NASAMS is produced jointly by Kongsberg and Raytheon Technologies and is in service with, or under delivery to, 12 nations. Raytheon is responsible for delivering its advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) for the system, while Kongsberg is supplying launcher systems.
Australia-based CEA Technologies will be responsible for the delivery of radars for the air-defense system under a AU$137 million contract from 2019.
The system will enable the Australian Army to quickly detect, engage, and destroy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missile threats.
NASAMS will replace the current short range air defense (SHORAD) capability, including the RBS-70, as the Australian Army’s principal air defense weapon. While the Phase 7B solution will be able to operate independently, it will be designed to operate as a subset of the broader Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defence (JIAMD) capability and has a key project interdependency with the Joint Battle Management System to be delivered by project AIR 6500.
The Mk 2 canister launcher for Australia’s NASAMS represents the latest launcher build standard, and includes a new common ground launch rail to enable the employment of multiple missile types.
Kongsberg said it completed the first of type FAT on the first Mk 2 canister launcher in Norway, before completing FAT on the second launcher.
Prior to the 2022 delivery to Raytheon Australia’s Centre for Joint Integration in Mawson Lakes, the launchers will be painted by a local South Australian supplier. Formal delivery of the first two launchers to Raytheon Australia is scheduled for July 2022, according to the company.
“Army’s NASAMS Mk 2 canister launchers will allow them to employ a mixture of different AMRAAM missile variants, as well as the AIM-9X Block 2 missile. This mix of missiles is highly effective against advanced aircraft, just like they are on the F-35A and Super Hornet, as well as being highly effective against air-delivered threats such as cruise missiles,” said John Fry, general manager of Kongsberg Defence Australia.