The Australian Government will invest up to A$2bn ($1.5bn) to develop a new short-range ground-based air defence system for the country's army.
The ground-based air defence capability will be developed using Kongsberg's national advanced surface-to-air missile system (NASAMS), which has ability to integrate with networks and a variety of sensors and weapons.
The NASAMS-based capability will be delivered to the Australian Army through a single supplier limited tender process to Raytheon Australia, which will serve as the prime system integrator for the programme.
A single supplier limited request for tender will be issued to Raytheon Australia later in the year.
Kongsberg will be a major sub-contractor in the air defence system programme.
Kongsberg Defence Systems president Eirik Lie said: “We are pleased to see that NASAMS is recognised as the preferred ground-based air defence capability solution for the Australian Army and we are looking forward to the process leading to a contract.”
The new system, which will provide the innermost layer of Australia’s enhanced integrated air and missile capability, will be operated by the army’s 16th Air Land Regiment.
Australian Minister for Defence Marise Payne said: “A modern and integrated ground-based air defence system is needed to protect our deployed forces from increasingly sophisticated air threats, both globally and within our region,” said Minister Payne.
“Australia’s current short-range capability is 30 years old and due to be retired early next decade. The replacement system will provide improved protection for our deployed servicemen and women.”
Australia's Department of Defence said Raytheon will conduct workshops across the country to give local industry the opportunity to be part of the project's supply chain.
Raytheon will also investigate using Thales Australia’s ‘Hawkei’, a protected mobility vehicle, as a potential platform for the system’s missile launchers.
Image: Australia to use Kongsberg's NASAMS for the development of a short-range ground-based air defence system. Photo: courtesy of Kongsberg Gruppen.