Ukrainian NASAMS Air Defense System Arrives, Endangering Russian Fighters

The NASAMS air defense complexes are considered to be dangerous for Russian fighters, even helping to turn the tide of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

A senior Pentagon official on August 20 revealed that the US is studying the possibility of supplying new weapons to Ukraine to “make a difference on the battlefield”, in order to turn the tide of the conflict Russia- Ukraine. The Pentagon hopes that the new military aid package will increase the ability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to counter Russian fire superiority, especially in regaining control of the air. According to the announcement, the US intends to deliver NASAMS air defense systems to Ukraine within two or three months. With this aid package, for the first time Ukraine will receive the most modern air defense missile complexes of the West.

NASAMS is much more modern than Kiev’s existing short- and medium-range air defense systems. It is considered a significant addition in the context that Ukraine has lost at least 25 S-300 missile launchers and many Buk-M1 medium-range air defense systems. It is known that NASAMS is one of the most advanced medium-range air defense systems developed in the West, capable of striking a variety of air targets, from fighter aircraft, helicopters to cruise missiles and UAVs.

NASAMS was the first application of a surface-launched AIM-120 AMRAAM. NASAMS 2 is an upgraded version of the system capable of using Link 16, which has been operational since 2007. As of 2022 NASAMS 3 is the latest upgrade; deployed in 2019, it adds capability to fire AIM-9 Sidewinder and IRIS-T SLS short-range missiles and AMRAAM-ER extended-range missiles, and introduces mobile air-liftable launchers. NASAMS has proven interoperability with longer range systems such as Patriot.

A standard NASAMS unit has a modular design comprising a command post the FDC, an active 3D radar Raytheon AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel, a passive electro-optical and infrared sensor and a number of missile canister launchers with AMRAAM missiles. Normally, a number of NASAMS fire units are netted together in a uniquely designed ”hard-realtime” communication network to ensure minimum latency over large distances for maximum system performance utilizing the unique capabilities of the AMRAAM missile.

NASAMS is by nature a highly mobile system designed with a focus on operational flexibility for protection of Air Bases, Sea Ports, Populated Areas, other High-Value Assets and Army Forces. The modular design permits mission-oriented task force organization of NASAMS, allowing the operators to maximize the effect of the components and tailor the system to the task.

NASAMS has been exported to the United States, with the NASAMS 2 upgrade having been exported to Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Oman, and Chile. NASAMS is in use with both Armies and Air Forces around the world. In addition Poland, Greece, Sweden and Turkey operate the Konsberg Command and Control solution for various weapon systems.”

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