Specialists of Lithuanian Air Force began tests of the NASAMS medium-range air defence system at the Kongsberg factory in Norway last month.
Components of the weaponry system produced specifically for the Lithuanian Air Force will be first tested at the factory and will be put to field trials when the air defence systems arrive in Lithuania.
The trials will assess the technical and tactical conformity of NASAMS components to the determined weaponry specification. The tests will run until February 2020 and test all the NASAMS components – missile launchers, radars, electro-optical sensors, components of integration with the RBS70 short-range air defence (SHORAD) systems, communication, and control components, and vehicles.
The NASAMS medium-range air defence system is planned to be delivered to Lithuania by the end of 2020. Once the systems are delivered, specialist operator training will begin at the Lithuanian Air Force Air Defence Battalion.
The contract for procuring the NASAMS air defence system for the Lithuanian Air Force was signed by the Ministry of National Defence and Norway’s Kongsberg, the manufacturer of the system, on October 26, 2017. The EUR 110 million contract includes equipment for two air defence batteries and logistical maintenance package, as well as training for operators and maintenance personnel.
Upon the completion of the project, Lithuania will have acquired a complete and integrated medium-range air defence capability.
“Protected airspace is one of the main conditions necessary for deployment of allies into the region in case of necessity,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says. “NASAMS is an assembled and integrated medium-range air defence capability we needed and did not have till present. This procurement partly fills one of the biggest gaps in national defence – airspace protection.”
The system procured by Lithuania is new, except for the launchers that are pre-used by the Norwegian Armed Forces and currently upgraded to manufacturer’s specifications. The systems procured from Norway use U.S.-made AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, U.S. military designation: AIM-120) aircraft defence missiles capable of destroying aircraft and missiles of an adversary several tens of kilometres away.
All the equipment is planned to be fully delivered to Lithuania, personnel trained, and all the components integrated into a system capable of completing air defence tasks: monitor and control air space, issue warning to ground-based units about air threats, and to destroy targets if necessary.