Last month Raytheon and Kongsberg conducted the first firing of the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) from the NASAMS (Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system). The June 24 firing at Norway’s Andøya Rocket Range not only validated the ability to fire the ESSM with the system, but also the ability to integrate an older-generation Hawk high-power illuminator into the system.
The NASAMS was developed by Raytheon and Kongsberg to answer a Norwegian requirement for medium-range air defense, and is the first such system with active radar missile capability. The system has subsequently been sold to Chile, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.S. At the heart of the NASAMS is the fire distribution center that coordinates the actions of launch units. Missiles can be launched from open rails or canisters.
The standard weapon for the NASAMS is the active-radar AMRAAM, but the imaging infrared AIM-9X can also be used, providing the system with a dual-mode capability. The addition of the semi-active ESSM makes it the third missile to be integrated with the NASAMS, although it requires an additional illuminating radar, such as the Hawk unit used in the Norwegian test.
Last year the NASAMS team also fired a German Diehl-BGT IRIS-T missile in a demonstration of the ability of system to fire non-U.S. missiles.