The first three Mk 2 Canister Launchers (CLs) for the Australian Army’s future Enhanced National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) capability are expected to arrive in-country in April, following the completion of Factory Acceptance Tests at the Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace facility in Kongsberg, Norway from October to December 2021.
Approved in March 2017 as the preferred solution for the Australian Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) Land 19 Phase 7B requirement, Enhanced NASAMS will deliver a tactical mobile short-range ground-based air-defence (SRGBAD) system that will replace the Australian Army’s legacy RBS-70 manportable short-range air-defence system. Land 19 Phase 7B is being delivered by prime contractor Raytheon Australia, with the support of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Kongsberg Defence Australia.
The Factory Acceptance Tests represent a critical production milestone for Project Land 19 Phase 7B, paving the way for the initial shipment of Mk 2 CLs to Australia, and integration with the Enhanced NASAMS architecture. “The tests verified that the system meets the stated specification requirements and the NASAMS CL are ready for further integration and testing at the higher system level,” a Kongsberg Defence Australia spokesperson said.
NASAMS Missile System
NASAMS was introduced into service by RNoAF in the 1990s as a replacement for the Norwegian HAWK system. It utilises a launcher system produced by Norwegian company Kongsberg and primarily fires AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAM), produced by Raytheon. The AMRAAM is primarily used by Western fighter aircraft for air-to-air combat.
NASAMS is currently in service with the Armed Forces of several nations, including, but not limited to, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. In addition, Indonesia, India and Oman are currently in the process of acquiring the system.
LAND 19 7B Project
LAND 19 7B (L197B) is the project title for the procurement of an upgrade to Australia’s Air Defence capability. 16 ALR, as the stewards of Army’s Air Defence capability replacing currently equipped with a very short-range air defence capability through the RBS 70 (Robotsystem 70 – range 8km).
Due to the limited timeframe, it has been decided that a system that is already fully operational would best suit Australia’s needs, hence the choice of NASAMS. To augment current NASAMS capabilities, the ADF, in concert with CEA Technologies, intends to develop an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to be used as fire control radar for AMRAAM missiles.
Equipment has already started arriving at 16 ALR in preparation for receiving NASAMS with Introduction of Capability (IOC) scheduled for 2023 and Final Operating Capability (FOC) circa 2025.
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