The Norwegian Defence Material Agency has contracted Kongsberg, an indigenous defence systems provider, to deliver new multi-missile canister launchers and new Fire Distribution Centres (FDCs) for its National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems (NASAMS).

This new equipment is due to arrive between 2026 and 2027.

According to a company statement on 31 January 2024, Kongsberg suggested that the Norwegian Government is replacing equipment previously donated to Ukraine to help the country intercept indiscriminate Russian strikes against military and civilian targets.

In March 2023, Norway supplied two NASAMS firing units which the US matched – providing a total of four firing units as part of a joint donation. Later, the Norwegian Government provided an undisclosed number of additional NASAMS systems to the sum Nkr335m ($31.8m).

Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine in March 2023. Credit: Norway Ministry of Defence.

NASAMS is a medium-range, network-centric air defence system designed and developed jointly by Raytheon and Kongsberg, primarily for the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF).

The system can be deployed to identify, engage and destroy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as protecting high-value assets and mass population centres against air-to-surface threats.

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Up to six missiles can be quickly launched from a single launcher at one or more flying targets. The launcher features a 360-degree defence capability and is suitable for day and night, all-weather operations.

The leading intelligence consultancy GlobalData says that Norway currently has an order for 11 NASAMS.

Furthermore, Norway’s third-largest defence sector is in missiles and missile defence systems. GlobalData forecasts this area to be Norway’s fastest growing sector in the coming years, with a compound annual growth rate of +28.6% for the 2023-2028 period.

Norway’s new cannisters and FDCs

The Mark 2 canister launcher, the latest launcher configuration, features a new common ground launch rail for the deployment of multiple missile types, including AMRAAM missile variants and the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block 2 missile.

Meanwhile, NASAMS are fitted with an FDC command-and-control unit to perform the battle management command, control, communications, computers and intelligence functions.

It is also used for data link management, track identification and correlation, friendly protection, jam strobe triangulation, threat evaluation, weapon allocation and kill assessment.

The FDC and radars are connected using Link 16, JRE, Link 11, Link 11B, LLAPI and ATDL-1 data links.

“These are investments that secure the country,” said Norway’s Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram.

“The war in Ukraine has shown how important air defence is, and before Christmas [2023] the Norwegian government was able to present a record order for air defence to the Norwegian Armed Forces.

“We have taken extraordinary measures to speed up the acquisition. The contract for the re-acquisition of donated material is the first step.”