Australian NASAMS air defence system achieves key milestone

Australian NASAMS air defence system
Australian NASAMS air defence system.

Raytheon Australia has successfully performed the first launch of the Australian Army’s new short range ground-based air defence system (SRGBAD) at the 122,000 km2 Woomera Test Range (WTR) in South Australia, the company announced on 19 June.

Raytheon Australia is leading a team to deliver a localised version of the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) under the Australian Department of Defence (DoD)’s LAND 19 Phase 7B Short Range Ground Based Air Defence (SRGBAD) system that the company states will revolutionise Australia’s short range air defence capabilities.

The new system will replace the army’s legacy RBS-70 man-portable short range air defence system.

“Seeing the whole system brought together and operating in its intended environment reinforces to our team the contribution we are making towards our ultimate objective, which is to put awesome capability into the hands of the Australian warfighter,” said LAND 19 Senior Program Manager Paul Szoboszlay.

According to the company, the trial tested the SRGBAD system’s effectiveness against live air targets in a controlled setting, confirming the system’s accuracy and capability and demonstrating that it can perform its primary mission of detecting, tracking, engaging and guiding missiles against their targets.

It also explained that the modular NASAMS system – which has been jointly developed with Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace – is designed to acquire, engage and destroy current and evolving fixed and rotary wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and emerging cruise missile threats. Its distributed, open-hardware and software architecture can incorporate to new technologies as they are developed.

Elsewhere, the NATO-interoperable NASAMS has also been integrated into the US National Capital Region’s air defence network since 2005. Besides Australia and the US, Norway, Finland, Spain, Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia, Qatar, Hungary, Ukraine and one undisclosed country also depend on NASAMS for air defence and the protection of critical assets.

Meanwhile, Kongsberg Defence Australia signed a A$9 million, five-year sustainment contract with Raytheon Australia to provide local support for the NASAMS. According to Kongsberg, the deal includes the provision of recurring support services for Kongsberg-provided sub-ystems such as the Fire Distribution Centre, Canister Launcher, and NASAMS Classroom Trainer, as well as the provision of Field Service Representatives.

“This announcement highlights the close partnership shared between the KONGSBERG teams in Norway and Australia both working together to ensure our local workforce has the technical skills and expertise to support this transformational capability for the Australian Army,” said Kongsberg Defence Australia General Manager John Fry.

by Jr Ng