Norwegian missile systems and their corresponding sensor and information technology are singled out by the Norwegian government as areas for a special industry-Armed Forces collaboration. Advanced munitions, especially missiles, are Norway’s largest defence export, with Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States as the leading buyers.
Former Raufoss Ammunisjonsfabrikk, now NAMMO, has helped advance a number of earlier missile technologies in Norway and abroad. The Royal Norwegian Navy’s Sea Sparrow is a decades old NAMMO involvement, replaced now by Evolved Sea Sparrow, for which NAMMO evolved the motor. In the 1970s, the Sidewinder air-to-air missile put the company in contact with Western missile developers. NAMMO built the Sidewinder engine and is engaged now in similar work in the development and production of the French IRIS-T air-to-air missile, on which the FFI, the Navy and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KD&A) are also working.
KD&A was immersed in the West’s first anti-ship cruise missile, the Penguin, when a version emerged in the 1960s. Newer models have been sold to Australia, Spain and the United States. “To sell systems so advanced to the U.S.A. was looked upon as a great acknowledgement of Norwegian technology,” a parliamentary statement of 2007 reads. The Penguin has been followed up by a new missile program.
Not surprisingly for a tradition-rich armoury with roots in Scandinavian royalty, the Norwegian Armed Forces are Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace’s most important customer. At the time of going to press, the Group went into serial production of its newest Naval Strike Missile, on a contract worth NOK 2.76 trillion. The Armed Forces Logistics Organization, or FLO in Norwegian, will manage the deal: It gives Norway’s new Nansen Class frigates and Skjold Class torpedo boats a main strike capability. It is also Kongsberg’s largest order ever. “Based on experience from the Penguin missile, the Norwegian Armed Forces have now laid the foundation for some 30 to 40 years of advanced industrial activity,” states Chief Executive Officer Jan Erik Korssjøen.
The contract ends a 10-year development phase and has triggered more international interest. Together with partner Lockheed Martin, KD&A is supplying anti-submarine warfare systems and anti-surface warfare systems to the Nansen-class frigates.
Some 120 of KD&A’s 1,400 Norwegian sub-contractors will acquire work through the anti-ship contract, including NAMMO’s missile division. NAMMO’s own anti-ship ordnance project, the Evolved Sea Sparrow, test fired from frigate KNM Fridtjof Nansen off California recently and struck all targets at various heights, speeds and distances.
From SAM to NASAMS II
The HAWK surface-to-air missile has been the US Marine Corp’s primary air defense since 1962 together with the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, (AMRAAM). However, in the mid 90s, KD&A developed the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS).
AMRAAM missile fired from the NASAMS II canister launcher from Kongsberg
Defence & Aerospace.
In 2007 the successor of NASAMS, the NASAMS II was born, providing sophisticated command and control systems coordinating air defence troops, their weapons and higher command, making it an important part of NATO’s air defence strategy.
Together with the Norwegian army, KD&A tested the system in the New Mexico desert in the United States, and NASAMS II was ready for operations on 1 July 2007. Years of testing in arctic and subarctic Norway vouch for the NASAMS’s foul-weather toughness.
NASAMS II can track targets travelling 1000 metres per second up to 25 kilometres away. In Norwegian batteries, three or four fire-distribution centres work together. This comprises Raytheon AN/TPQ64 tracking radars and 12, six-missile launchers mounted on trucks, a Hummer, and an MII3 armoured personnell carrier either as a trailer or dismounted. Three or four vehicle-mounted, infrared tracking cameras keep visual track of targets. Arranged this way, the NASAMS can individually target 72 aircraft or cruise missiles in just seconds. After firing, it will pack up and move in mere minutes. The NASAMS is believed to have no true peers.
“No other weapons system is newer, no other weapons system is so network-based and none have the same mobilty,” says Lt. Colonel Arne Christian Fjelberg, commander of a NASAMS unit. A Hummer-mounted command and control shelter is made by TAM of Bardufoss Norway, the site of 50 years of northern NATO excercises. Despite its origins in rugged, subarctic Norway, TAM made an air-conditioned shelter for NASAMSs destined to be moved by C-130H or newly ordered C-130J Hercules cargo planes.
At Andøya, a favourite island test range in northern Norway, the minimal crews of NASAMS’s units merge the system’s search modes to make it impossible to hide in the terraine.
For secure links during firing, Eidsvol Electronics, or EIDEL, provides the Remote Crypto Distribution System for loading mission and launch data into firing systems. EIDEL’s specialized work enables remote missile launches via the NATO-approved Virtual Private Network kit in hardened hardware. The company’s Radio Control System, or RCS, allows for the flexible control of digital radio transceivers at remote radio sites like northern Norway. The RCS has supported NATO’s air-intervention objectives in Norway since 1999.
Planning and managing missile launches is made secure by Thales Norway cryptographic equipment. The company’s eCustodian Electronic Key Management System generates, distributes and keeps an account of NATO-standard, top-secret crypto keys. Narvik-based Natech builds and, importantly, tests electromechanical and electro-optical components on contract for the likes of missile makers Lockheed Martin, Kongsberg and NAMMO.
Jotne EPM Technology helps the U.S. Defence Department, Norwegian Armed Forces and the European Space Agency manage information generated by complex missile systems. By inducing system designers and builders to share data seamlessly with subcontractors and customers, Jotne has helped Norway’s frigate programme cut data errors from 20 to 1.3 percent. The company’s trademark product suite Express Data Manager manages CAD/PLM and logistics data.