NASAMS medium-range air defense systems have been officially handed over to the Lithuanian Armed Forces, the service announced last week.
Representatives of the National Defence System and Kongsberg, Norwegian manufacturer of NASAMS, signed a document certifying good testing results of the system on October 30 at the Lithuanian Armed Forces Air Defence Battalion. On that moment Lithuania became a full-fledged owner of the systems that had been delivered to the Air Defence Battalion from Norway in the summer this year.
“Guarded airspace is among the most critical enablers for Allies to deploy into the region if such a necessity arises,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said. “We have acquired a fully assembled and integrated mid-range air defence capability, something we were in need and short of so far, in NASAMS. This, to a degree, fills one of the worst gaps in national defence – airspace security.”
Minister also points out the excellent synergy among the Lithuanian and the Norwegian Defence Ministries, the Lithuanian Air Force and Kongsberg that has enabled the implementation of such a critical project within the set timeline and financial limits.
“Arrival of the system enhances Lithuania’s airspace defence and further strengthens deterrence. When we link together all the components of collective defence, we get the good result that makes potential adversaries think twice on their intents and gives more security and discretion to us,” Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys underscores.
NASAMS is the most widely used medium-range air defence system across NATO. Lithuania has acquired the latest, third generation system (NASAMS 3) which is used by the manufacturer, Norway, only.
NASAMS 3 comprises command post fire distribution centers, missile canister launchers, communications equipment, etc. The procurement has been coupled with upgrading of the short-range air defence systems RBS-70 in possession of the Lithuanian Armed Forces – the two systems will be integrated into the overall Lithuanian air defence shield.
Specialized staff began training to operate the new acquisition back in late 2019, in Norway, using training methodology and programmes developed by the Norwegian Armed Forces and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Later the training was continued in Lithuania – Norwegian experts and Lithuanian military have been working on it at the Air Defence Battalion. Staff training is planned to be completed and integration of the Lithuanian NASAMS into the NATO Integrated Air Defence System begun by 2021.
The MoD Work Group analysed mid-range air defence systems available on the market to implement the NASAMS procurement project. Potential procurements were assessed according to such criteria as efficiency, compatibility with the systems used by other NATO allies, maintenance and repair costs, timetable of delivery, etc. NASAMS was selected as the closest choice to the formulated requirement and criteria.
The contract on procuring the NASAMS mid-range air defence system for the Lithuanian Air Force was signed on 26 October 2017 by the Ministry of National Defence and Norway’s Kongsberg, NASAMS manufacturer. The €109 million contract includes equipment for two air defence batteries and logistical maintenance package, as well as training for operators and maintenance personnel.
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) anti-air missiles capable of destroying aircraft and missiles of an adversary several tens of kilometers away.
NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) is a distributed and networked medium to long range air-defence system developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Raytheon.
NASAMS was the first surface-based application for the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). The missile itself is named SLAMRAAM (Surfaced Launched AMRAAM).
The system integrates U.S. built AN/MPQ-64 F1 Sentinel air defense radar and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles with an indigenously 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).
The missile reportedly has a horizontal range of up to 25 km.