Norway will become one of the first countries to acquire the latest version of Raytheon's Advanced Medium Range air-to-air (AMRAAM) missiles, the AMRAAM-D which was tested in June this year.
Director General of the Norwegian Defence Material Agency (NDMA), Gro Jære on Wednesday signed an agreement with the U.S. Government worth approximately NOK five billion (USD $498 Million) regarding the acquisition of AMRAAM-D air-to-air missiles to equip the F-35s of the Norwegian Air Force.
Through this agreement Norwegian F-35s will gain access to a weapon that has had major improvements in terms of sensors and range, and which will be effective against everything from drones and cruise missiles to other combat aircraft, Gro Jære said.
Delivery of the missiles will continue through 2028. The cost of the procurement is part of the overall cost estimates for the Norwegian F-35 program, where large parts of the remaining funds are intended for various weapons, including the AMRAAM-D and the Joint Strike Missile.
The AMRAAM-D will serve as the main weapon used to defend Norwegian airspace for the next several decades and represents the single largest procurement ever of weapons for the Norwegian Armed Forces.
"We are carrying out such a major acquisition of medium-range air-to-air missiles that will unleash the potential of the F-35, which in turn will strengthen our future defensive capabilities. This is especially important in light of today's security situation," Norwegian Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram was quoted as saying in a government release.
The AMRAAM-D is an upgraded version of a missile that has previously been used by both the F-16 and the NASAMS air defence system. Featuring more powerful propulsion, improved guidance systems and a data link, the missile will give Norwegian combat aircraft a better ability to combat the full width of modern air threats.
The AMRAAM-D referred to by Norway is likely the AMRAAM AIM-120D-3, the most recent upgrade of the AIM-120 missile of Raytheon which was tested by the U.S. Air Force in a guided launch environment on June 30, 2022 against a QF-16 full-scale aerial target.