Norway - UK to provide Ukraine with 3 Arthur Radars and 8 M270 MLRS rocket launchers

On May 18, 2023, Norway announced its support for Ukraine through the provision of three Arthur artillery locating radars and eight M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). The contributions are being made in tight collaboration with the United Kingdom.
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Norway will provide Ukraine with eight M270 MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems and three ARTHUR artillery locating radars in collaboration with the UK.

Norwegian Defense Minister, Bjørn Arild Gram, expressed the necessity of continuing to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom and independence. He highlighted the significant demand for these weapons and thanked the UK for its essential collaboration.

Norway previously donated three M270 MLRS systems to the UK, and with the addition of eight more now, this will significantly boost the UK's capacity to sustain its backing for Ukraine. Gram lauded the effectiveness of these weapons in the conflict, giving Ukraine the ability to control Russian supply lines and hit crucial targets behind enemy lines.

The Norwegian government has also decided to gift three Arthur radars, designed to locate enemy artillery, from its military stores to Ukraine. This initiative will be coordinated with the UK, which has similarly donated these radar systems to Ukraine in the past.

In a statement, the Defense Minister commended the remarkable resilience shown by the Ukrainian people, stating that their fight for freedom, democracy, and security is a shared one.

The Defense Ministry is currently replacing its Arthur artillery locating radars with new models, as part of an ongoing investment project due to deliver new systems in 2024 and 2025. The M270 MLRS has been retired from the Norwegian military's service, and so is no longer part of the country's military structure.

The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is a mobile artillery system designed to engage and defeat artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, light armor and personnel carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations. Originating from the United States, this system has been adopted by several NATO countries, including Norway. It provides counter-battery fire to defeat enemy artillery and mortar positions and also has the capability to engage in the suppression of enemy air defenses, especially radar systems.

The M270 MLRS consists of a tracked chassis carrying a launcher pod that can hold up to 12 rockets or two Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles. The launcher pod can be quickly reloaded, allowing for continuous fire support. The system can fire rockets up to a range of 70 kilometers or MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), a guided missile that can hit targets up to 300 kilometers away.

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Danish M270 MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System. (Picture source Wikimedia)

ARTHUR is an acronym for Artillery Hunting Radar, a mobile weapon-locating radar system developed by Saab Bofors Dynamics and Ericsson Microwave Systems of Sweden, and produced by Saab. It is designed to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire to determine the point of origin for counterbattery fire.

The radar operates in the frequency band 5.4-5.9 GHz, which corresponds to the C band (normally used for long-distance radio telecommunications). It can locate guns, mortars, and rocket launchers at a range of up to 50 km (31 mi) away and has a circular error probable (CEP) of 0.35% of the range.

The system uses an active electronically scanned array (AESA) for the 3D location of projectiles, which enables it to operate in a track while scan mode. The system can handle more than 100 targets simultaneously and also provides information for air surveillance to support air defense units.

The ARTHUR radar system has been used by several militaries around the world, including the Swedish, Norwegian, UK, Italian, and Canadian forces. These radars are especially beneficial in modern asymmetric warfare scenarios where detecting and responding to enemy artillery fire rapidly is crucial.

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Danish army ARTHUR artillery locating rada. (Picture source Wikimedia)