Australia to Acquire New Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) Capability Based on Raytheon/Kongsberg NASAMS System

Australia’s Morrison Government announced, on March 25, that it will purchase a new Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) capability based on the Raytheon/Kongsberg National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS).

Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Defence, and Linda Reynolds, Minister for Defence Industry, said the Government is committed to providing the Australian Defence Force with the best capability to protect Australia’s national interests.

The NASAMS system, which will be using Australian designed and built radars and vehicles, will improve the protection of Australian troops, said an Australian Department of Defence statement. The system will replace the Australian Army’s current ageing RBS-70 man-portable air defence system (MANPADS). The total cost (buy and sustain) of the project is around $2.5 billion.

“This new air defence capability combines world leading Australian radar technology with a highly effective air defence system that will contribute to the protection of our service men and women from modern airborne threats,” Minister Pyne said.

The Raytheon/Kongsberg NASAMS air defense system is currently operated by several countries including the United States.

Australia’s version of NASAMS will use advanced radars designed and manufactured by Canberra-based company, CEA Technologies. The CEA radar, that are already mounted on Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships, will be integrated into an Australian designed and built vehicle, the Thales Hawkei.

Hawkei Light Protected Vehicle Hawkei Light Protected Vehicle. Thales Photo

Much of the contract work will be done at the new Raytheon Australia Centre for Joint Integration, which will be built in the defence industry precinct at Mawson Lakes with a $50 million investment from Raytheon.

The U.S. State Department has recently approved the sale of AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment to Australia through Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route, for an estimated cost of $240.5 million. The possible sale was in support of Australia’s NASAMS system as it uses AMRAAM missiles.


NASAMS (Norwegian/National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) is a distributed and networked medium to long range air-defence system developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace of Norway and Raytheon of USA.

NASAMS was the first surface-based application for the AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile). The missile itself is named SLAMRAAM (Surfaced Launched AMRAAM) and has a horizontal range of up to 25 km.

The system integrates integrates U.S.-built AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel 3D air defense radar and AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles with a Kongsberg developed Battle management C4I system called FDC, short for Fire Distribution Center. The FDC connected to a MPQ-64 radar forms an “Acquisition Radar and Control System” (ARCS).

NASAMS is operated by seven countries and has been integrated into the U.S.’ National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. In addition to the U.S., it is in service in Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands and one undisclosed country (likely Chile). The systems is also ordered by Oman, Indonesia and Lithuania and is received procurement approval in Australia and India.

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