Australian to get newest air-defence system soon

Gunners had their first sight at the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) last month at Jervis Bay after waiting years for a peek of the Army’s newest air-defence system, 16th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

The activity, created to evaluate system components before the Regiment takes initial delivery this month, encouraged air defenders to use the equipment firsthand.

Soon after, qualification training will begin.

Mitchell North, a Lance-Bombardier with the 110th Battery, will be one of the first soldiers to be certified.

Lance-Bombardier North stated, “We’ve been waiting for NASAMS so it’s good to see the equipment and get it going finally.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing the first missile live fire, but even just doing the tests, getting it slewing, as well as opening the missile-bay doors was cool to watch.”

More than a dozen militaries, including US and Ukraine, use NASAMS.

An improved version of the Norwegian design, operated by the Army, will be equipped with Australian radar technology, a Hawkei-based launcher, and an infrared/optical sensor.

A Hawkei high-mobility launcher or an MK II canister launcher, which is launched from a HX77 heavy truck and allows for mission flexibility with up to six missiles carried per platform, can be equipped with a mixture of AMRAAM or Sidewinder missiles.

The 110th Battery will be the first battery to be outfitted with NASAMS, and each unit will control three canisters or high-mobility launchers.

Once the Regiment reaches full operational capabilities by 2026, two batteries are anticipated to be deployed.

Major Brett Watson, the commander of the 110th Battery, stated that the 16th Regiment was beginning a new chapter.

“The introduction of NASAMS into service represents a step change in air defence capability for ADF, and also providing the ability to sense as well as effect at much greater ranges with the state-of-art equipment,” Major Watson said.

The entire team is very eager to embark on this journey.

“This familiarization activity is about allowing those leading the initial training to learn about the equipment as well as interact with the CASG and Defense Industry teams — it was a very valuable trip,” said the person leading the initial training.

Once construction is finished, the 16th Regiment will move from Woodside Barracks to brand-new, specially designed barracks at RAAF Edinburgh.

The Future Project AIR 6500 will merge NASAMS with joint air defence, which will synchronize capabilities to create layered air defence. NASAMS is capable of operating independently.

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