An Omani NASAMS launches an AMRAAM during a test. (Omani Ministry of Defence)
The US Department of State has approved a Kuwaiti request for a National Advanced Surface-to-air Missile System (NASAMS) package estimated to be worth USD3 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 6 October.
Developed by Raytheon and Norway's Kongsberg, the NASAMS uses the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) as surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), making it an attractive option for militaries that already have these missiles. The new AMRAAM-Extended Range (AMRAAM-ER) missile provides a longer-range option but is only available as a SAM.
A NASAMS fire unit consists of at least one launcher, a fire distribution centre (FCU), a towed AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel radar, and an optional vehicle-mounted electro-optical target detection and tracking system.
The DSCA said the Kuwaiti request was for seven Sentinel radars, 63 Sidewinders, 63 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAMs, 63 AMRAAM-ERs, an unspecified number of FCUs, a simulator, and all the required support.
It also includes 12 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVTs) with radios and cryptographic modules so the NASAMS can be integrated into a network using the Link 16 tactical datalink.
“The proposed sale will improve Kuwait's capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing the ability to defend itself against regional malign actors and improve interoperability with systems operated by US forces and other Gulf countries,” the DSCA said.
Oman is the only confirmed NASAMS user in the Middle East, although Qatar has probably also received the system.
The DSCA announced in November 2018 that the Department of State had approved the sale of 40 AMRAAMs for NASAMS Qatar would buy directly from Raytheon, rather than as a Foreign Military Sale managed by the US government.