On 31 October, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (Forsvarsmateriell) and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS announced the signing of a contract for the delivery of the Kongsberg Army Mobile Ground Based Air Defence System to the Norwegian Army. The contract is worth 583 million Norwegian kroner ($64.04 million).
According to Kongsberg, the Army Mobile Ground Based Air Defence System is a highly mobile short-range air defence system that will reuse key capabilities from the NASAMS (National/Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System), such as its command and control and networking solutions.
In addition to NASAMS elements, the new Army Mobile Ground Based Air Defence System will use a radar system from Weibel Scientific and a surface launched version of the IRIS-T (Infra Red Imaging System-Tail/Thrust Vector Controlled) missile, manufactured by Diehl Defence. The Swedish Army currently operates a similar version of the missile, the IRIS-T SLS (Surface Launched – Short Range) for air defense.
Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, had this to comment on the signing of the contract:
The Army Mobile Ground Based Air Defence System provides the Norwegian Army a unique capability to provide air defence throughout their maneuver operations. We are very pleased that the addition of the Army Mobile Ground Based Air Defence System in the Norwegian forces, along with the existing NASAMS air defence system, provides both the Norwegian Army and the Air Force extremely advanced air defence systems from Kongsberg.
Rear Admiral Bjørge Aase, deputy commander of the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, commented on the contract signing as well. He stated that the signing of the contract facilitated the delivery of a modular, flexible and rapidly deployable air defence system capable of efficiently defending the Norwegian Army’s maneuver elements.
The Norwegian Ministry of Defence had agreed to a direct acquisition process for the Army Mobile Ground Based Air Defence System in February 2017. Following the signing of the contract, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency expects delivery of the system to be completed by 2023.
The purchase of the Army Mobile Ground Based Air Defence System is part of a growing effort in NATO to modernize its short range air defence systems. These capabilities were deemphasized following the end of the Cold War, but extensive use of small UAVs in the War in Donbass and fighting in the Middle East has given a new urgency to modernizing them. Similarly, Russian development of advanced air defenses potentially capable of impeding NATO air dominance has renewed interest in more capable organic air defense assets.