Australia shows interest to purchase NASAMS air defense missile systems from US

On March 13, 2019, the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia of AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $240.5 million. These items are in support of Australia’s purchase of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS).

Australia shows interest to purchase NASAMS air defense missiles systems from US 925 001
NASAMS launcher unit of Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System at MSPO 2016, defense exhibition in Poland. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 12, 2019.

The Government of Australia has requested to buy up to 108 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM); six (6) AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM Air Vehicles Instrumented; and six (6) spare AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM guidance sections. Also included are containers, weapon system support equipment, support and test equipment, site survey, transportation, repair and return warranties, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, personnel training, and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representative engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

This proposed sale is in support of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Project LAND 19 Phase 7B for the acquisition of a ground-based air and missile defense capability. Australia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The prime contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona. There are no known offset arrangements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

The NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) is a distributed and networked medium to a long-range air-defense system. NASAMS was the first surface-based application for the AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile). The missile itself is named SLAMRAAM (Surface Launched AMRAAM). The multi-missile launchers can also fire the missile AIM-9-X Sidewinder and the RIM-162 – ESSM. The missile is able to hit targets at the range of up to 40 km and at the height of up to 14 km.

The NASAMS can be deployed to identify, engage and destroy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and for protecting high-value assets and mass population centers against air-to-surface threats. The system integrates US-built MPQ-64 Sentinel air defense radar and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles with an indigenously developed Battle management C4I system called FDC, short for Fire Distribution Center. The FDC connected to an MPQ-64 radar forms an "Acquisition Radar and Control System" (ARCS).