With Ukraine in urgent need of air defences to counter Russian bombardment by missile and one-way drones, Norway is donating additional NASAMS from its own defence stocks to defend lives and infrastructure in Ukraine, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence announced on 13 December 2023.
The decision to supply NASAMS from Norways own reserves reflects the urgency of the donation. Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy reportedly told analysts on 11 December that Ukraine only has a ‘handful’ of air-defence missiles to protect Kyiv, according to Politico. With the congressional deadlock over US military budgets and the Presidential drawdown, support for Ukraine from its single greatest benefactor is in a state of uncertainty.
While the number and make-up of systems to be donated by Norway has not been defined by its Ministry of Defence, it is known that the value of the systems being drawn from Norway’s own reserves amounts to Nkr335m ($31.7m).
In June, Lithuania donated two NASAMS air defence systems to Ukraine with an estimated cost of $10.7m, suggesting that a donation by Norway of purely of launchers valued at $31.7m could be up to six units, minus any budget allocated to fire direction centres or SENTINEL radars necessary to a NASAMS battery.
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Norway will also order more NASAMS from defence supplies, and from this separate channel Norway will donate 8 more launch systems and 4 more fire direction centres, which it states will amount to the same number of NASAMS that Norway has previously donated to Ukraine, doubling the presence already in place.
Up to this date, Norway has supplied 4 NASAMS to Ukraine, with 2 fire control centres and 2 launchers donated in July, and 2 complete NASAMS fire units donated in conjunction with the USA in Autumn 2022.
The NASAMS system is a mobile air-defence platform designed to safeguard assets including air bases, ports, military personnel, and civilian populations. This technology has been implemented in 13 other countries, including the United States, Norway and Ukraine. With Nato’s increased defence posture in Eastern Europe , NASAMS systems have been deployed to Estonia from Spain’s inventory, and Lithuania have deployed their own as part of air defence for the Baltic-Nordic area.
The NASAMS system is comprised of several components, including the AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel radar, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace’s Fire Distribution Centre, launcher, and a variety of munitions that include the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Extended Range, and AIM-9X.