Air Defense: Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System


June 21, 2010: Chile is joining Finland, and several other countries, and adopting the Norwegian NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) for their air defense needs. Chile was particularly impressed by the track record of reliability NASAMS has compiled. Norway developed this system in the early 1990s and deployed the first missiles and radars in 1995. NASAMS uses the American AMRAMM radar guided air-to-air missiles, but fired from a six missile container, instead of an aircraft. This ground based AMRAAM weighs 159 kg/350 pounds and has a range of 30 kilometers (it's radar can see out 50-70 kilometers), and can hit targets as high as 21 kilometers (65,000 feet).

What makes the AMRAMM so effective as a SAM is the capabilities of its guidance system (which is about two thirds of the $400,000 missiles cost.) Testing also revealed that AMRAAM could be used to shoot down cruise missiles. Chile believes the AMRAAM (also combat proven) used by NASAMS is a better long term choice for air defense, because the United States is constantly updating the missile.

Norway pioneered the use of AMRAAM as a surface-to-air missile, and other systems have been developed using AMRAAM. But the Norwegian version is seen as the best of the lot. Spain, Holland, Finland and the United States also use NASAMS.




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