What kind of NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems does the US plan to transfer to Ukraine?

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The US administration is preparing to announce the purchase of a medium-to-long-range anti-aircraft missile system, which will be included in the next package of military assistance to Kyiv. Information with a link to a source in the US administration was published in foreign media. Ukrainian officials have requested a missile defense system known as the NASAMS — mobile Norwegian anti-aircraft missile system. The complex had several modifications, and it is not known what kind of Ukraine will get.

What is it?

NASA — a mobile Norwegian anti-aircraft missile system designed to combat maneuvering aerodynamic targets at low and medium altitudes, a short-medium range air defense system. As tests have shown, NASAMS can also be used to combat cruise missiles. Its full name — Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System — “Improved Norwegian surface-to-air system.”

NASAMS launcher. Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org/Soldatnytt


The NASAMS complex consists of several facilities for different purposes, united by cable and radio communication. The typical composition of the battery includes a command post on two automobile chassis, a vehicle with optoelectronic station, up to 6-8 radars on trailers and up to 9-12 launchers.

American-designed radar is used as the main means of review and search for air targets. The locator is capable of tracking large aircraft at distances up to 120 km and altitudes of 12 km. Unmanned aerial vehicles or high-precision weapons are also detected, but from smaller distances from smaller distances. For review of the near zone, a Norwegian-designed station is used. It allows you to clarify the coordinates of the target at minimum distances.

The complex is delivered to the selected position on its own, by tugboat or truck. Then there is unloading and deployment — the launcher is removed from the truck platform and placed on the ground.

The command post includes two vans with calculation cabins and necessary equipment. It processes data from locator and station, and distributes targets and controls firepower.

The launcher is a transportable stationary platform with lifting and turning package of six rails. Before firing, the installation turns to side the target, circular guidance is provided along horizontally.

NASAMS 2 of the Spanish Army. Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org/Outisnn


The NASAMS serial complex uses an American-designed AIM-120 & nbsp;AMRAAM rocket, converted for ground launch. The missile is equipped with an active radar homing head and carries a high-explosive fragmentation warhead. The firing range from ground launchers reaches 20 km, reach in altitude — 16 km.

Will it be useful

On the whole, NASAMS is a fairly successful modern short-range air defense system with good performance characteristics. The problem is  that the complexes need  calculations, the preparation of which is complex and time-consuming. In the current situation, the Ukrainian army simply doesn have no time to master complex imported equipment.

In addition, the NASAMS air defense system is designed to operate in a layered air defense system. Working alone and without appropriate support, NASAMS will become a fairly simple target.

Development and modification

The development of the project was carried out in the & nbsp; nineties with the aim of replacing the obsolete Improved Hawk air defense systems of the Norwegian army. NASAMS was developed by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace and American Raytheon. The American side provided a ready-made anti-aircraft missile and some other components. Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace was responsible for other assets and general systems integration. In the late nineties, she launched the production of complexes for the launch customer in the face of the Norwegian armed forces.

In the middle of the 2000s, a NASAMS 2 modernization project was developed. It provided for the preservation of the architecture of the complex while replacing part of the tools and components, which made it possible to increase the main characteristics. In 2007  Kongsberg has mastered the mass production of a new model of air defense systems and has begun the modernization of combat products.

Since the end of the 1910s, a new modification called NASAMS 3, again featuring improved performance, was tested at test sites. Work is also underway to integrate the new AMRAAM-ER extended-range anti-aircraft missile and the AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range missile. These projects are expected to be completed in the coming years and series production will follow.

Other customers

In 2000, and completed contracts for supply of complexes to the USA, Spain, the Netherlands, Finland and other countries. To date, such complexes have entered service with a dozen countries, including Norway. Several more states have placed orders and are waiting for their equipment. Negotiations are also underway with the following customers.



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