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The Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace teamed up with Raytheon and initiated the NASAMS programme as a cooperative effort for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The state-of-the-art network-centric air defence system NASAMS was declared fully operational capable in 1998, but had an initial operational capability as early as in 1994/95.
Until the late 1990s the RNoAF ground based air defence solution, also known as the Norwegian Solution (NORSOL) consisted of three different weapon systems; the 40mm Bofors L70 gun (controlled by the Oerlikon Contraves FCS2000 monopulse doppler tracking radar), the laser beam riding RBS 70 MANPADS system, and the NASAMS. All three systems were integrated through the ARCS via field wires and radio. The ARCS maintained connection to higher echelons and ensured protection of friendly aircraft while preventing over- and underkill for all subordinate weapon systems. NASAMS capabilities are enhanced by the system's networked and distributed nature.
NASAMS launcher can be moved on a Scania 113H truck.
The RNoAF together with KDA is currently running a mid-life update of the NASAMS, called NASAMS II, and the upgraded version was first handed over to RNoAF in mid 2006. The major difference the two versions will be the use of Link 16 on NASAMS II, as well as a better ground radar. Full operational capability (FOC) is expected in 2007. A version of NASAMS has been exported to Spain and the Netherlands is probably going to buy several systems before 2008. NASAMS II as used by the RNoAF is ordered by the Netherlands.
The system integrates US-built AN/TPQ-36A 3D radars and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles with an indigenously developed BMC4I system called FDC, short for Fire Distribution Center. The FDC connected to a TPQ-36A radar forms an 'Acquisition Radar and Control System' (ARCS).
White House defense
In 2006 the Norwegian magazine Økonomisk Rapport (Economic Report) revealed that several NASAMS were used to guard air space over Washington, D.C. during the 2005 presidential inauguration. According to the report, the same NASAMS units has since been used to protect air space around the White House. The magazine received access to the deal which mentioned specifically that the equipment be used for protection of the President in Washington. Director Tore Sannes of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace refused to comment, other than acknowledging that they had made a weapon systems deal with U.S. military contractor Raytheon and the United States Air Force.