In the distant past, the Norwegian armed forces had foreign-made anti-missile systems that could fight some of the potential enemy’s missiles. After the end of the Cold War from such weapons They refused, and during the last decades the Norwegian territory had only air defense without significant anti-missile potential. In connection with the latest events in the international arena and modern political trends, the Norwegian command decided to revive its own missile defense system.
The issue of building a new missile defense system has been repeatedly raised in recent years, but until a certain time everything stopped at the discussion stage. Only at the start of 2017 did Norway go to real business. It was announced that research work would be carried out soon, the results of which would form the image of the required missile defense system. It was supposed to study the main threats, as well as identify the available opportunities, and then offer the most successful version of missile defense, corresponding to the peculiarities of the hypothetical theater of military operations.
The study of opportunities for the construction of new means of protection was entrusted to the State Institute of Defense Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt (FFI) and the US Agency for Missile Defense. Together, the two organizations were to consider a number of existing and future projects, and then determine which of them are suitable for the rearmament of the Norwegian army. According to the plans for the beginning of last year, the development of the missile defense image should have been completed in about a year.
FFI and the Missile Defense Agency raised several basic questions. They had to study the existing Norwegian infrastructure and find out its potential in the context of missile defense deployment, as well as determine the need to build new facilities. It was also necessary to consider the situation on the international market and evaluate foreign missile defense systems, including in terms of cost and the possibility of procurement. The following items of the assignment for researchers included an assessment of the financial and operational features of a future missile defense system. Finally, specialists should have foreseen Russia's possible reaction to the deployment of anti-missile systems in Norway.
It should be noted that the assessment of the reaction of a large neighboring country turned out to be the simplest task. Quickly enough, the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the proposal of the Norwegian leadership and warned it against ill-considered steps that could adversely affect the strategic situation in the region. For the remaining points, FFI and the ABM Agency had to work independently.
Shortly after the announcement of plans for the construction of a missile defense system in the Norwegian and foreign press, various assessments and statements appeared that suggested certain ways of implementing the existing plans. In particular, it was proposed to simply join the Euro-Atlantic missile defense system under construction and use the same elements of the complexes that are being deployed on the territory of other countries. The possibility of building a missile defense system using F-35 fighters was also mentioned. It was claimed that such airplanes with AIM-120D AMRAAM air-to-air missiles would be able to shoot down ballistic missiles in the initial segments of the trajectory.
According to information from the beginning of last year, by 2018, research participants were required to submit a full package of documents describing the situation and proposing ways to implement existing plans. However, this did not happen. Until the end of 2017, the country's leadership did not receive the desired documents; did not pass them in the first weeks of the new 2018. Only a few days ago, the postponement of research was announced. In addition, announced its reasons.
According to the Norwegian Ministry of Defense, to carry out research it took quite complex work with numerous calculations, simulations, etc. The mathematical part of the research was harder than expected initially. Because of this, the work has been delayed and not completed yet. According to recent reports, FFI and the Missile Defense Agency will continue ongoing work over the next few months. Now, the end of 2018 is called the end date for the research.
As reported by the Norwegian media, future documents will include data on various anti-missile complexes of land, air and sea bases. In particular, it is known that the evaluation of the Norwegian frigates of the Fridjof Nansen type as carriers of antimissiles is completed. However, it has not yet been clarified to what conclusions the Norwegian and American experts came.
The postponement of the report on the prospects for building missile defense entailed a shift in the timeframe for the remaining work required. After receiving the required documents at the end of the year, the Ministry of Defense and the government plan to discuss all the necessary issues, which will take almost the entire 2019 year. If there are no new problems, then already in 2020, a contract may appear for the delivery of specific models of equipment and weapons. The first ordered samples will be delivered no earlier than the middle of the next decade.
According to various estimates, Norway, in the first place, will have to choose an approach to the construction of anti-missile defense. It can purchase any systems and build its own missile defense system, or join the deployed Euro-Atlantic system. In the latter case, objects similar to those located in Poland or Romania may appear on the Norwegian territory. Control of these objects will be entrusted to the control system of NATO.
What approach will be chosen by the military and political leadership of Norway - it remains only to guess. Both approaches have their pros and cons associated with equipment, combat qualities and even politics. In addition, politicians and the military will have to take into account not only the tactical and technical features of promising complexes, but also political consequences, relations with third countries, etc.
Since the announcement of the future construction of the Norwegian anti-missile defense system, various assumptions and assessments regarding its technical appearance have been regularly made. Specialists are trying to predict not only the basic approaches to construction, but also the specific components on the basis of which the entire required system will be created. For obvious reasons, there are a variety of assumptions and estimates, often contradictory. At the same time, in the existing assessments it is possible to track some general tendencies having certain grounds.
According to the overwhelming majority of assessments, Norway, regardless of the degree of independence of the future system, will not order the development of promising complexes. On the contrary, it will acquire and deploy complexes of existing types offered by foreign companies. From the situation in this sector of the international arms market, it follows that the contract will most likely be signed with one of the American companies. In the catalogs of the products of the industry of other countries there are simply no products that can interest the Norwegian military.
In this case, the most likely is the purchase of any of the three "actual" anti-missile systems offered by the United States. A supplement for existing anti-aircraft systems could be the Patriot complex, which has certain anti-missile capabilities. If you take into account the features of the existing Norwegian air defense, then this choice looks quite interesting.
Alternative to "Patriot" can be a specialized anti-missile system THAAD. Such complexes have already entered service with several foreign countries, and they do not always work as part of a large integrated missile defense system. At the same time, if such a decision is made, they can be used with other means of Euro-Atlantic missile defense.
The most complex and expensive, but able to show the highest performance, is the complex Aegis Ashore. Land versions of ship systems have already been deployed at several bases in Eastern Europe; There are plans to build several more such facilities. It is possible that another complex of this kind will appear in Norway.
All three of these complexes have their own characteristics, which, depending on customer requirements, can be considered both advantages and disadvantages. For example, the THAAD and Aegis Ashore systems are characterized by enhanced combat performance, but the Patriot complex is significantly cheaper. In addition, the Norwegian industry has established contacts with the developer of the latter - the company Raytheon. When choosing the desired missile defense system, the Norwegian command can put both characteristics and cost at the forefront.
In the context of combat capabilities, the goals of the planned construction should also be considered. The Ministry of Defense of Norway and NATO, responding to criticism from Russia, argue that the new missile defense system is not directed against Russian missiles, but is designed to fight with weapons from other countries. For elementary geographical reasons, the main threat to Norway in this case are Iranian missiles. The shortest distance between Iran and Norway exceeds 3200 km, which indicates a hypothetical use of medium-range ballistic missiles. This places special demands on remedies.
In accordance with current trends in European international politics, Russian Iskander or Caliber missiles can be considered a threat. The latter, belonging to the category of cruise missiles, are targets for air defense. Quasi-ballistic missiles of the Iskander complex, despite all the statements by the Norwegian command, can be one of the reasons for the deployment of a missile defense system.
However, while we are talking only about assumptions and versions. They are based only on known data and do not take into account the results of current research work, which is planned to be completed only by the end of the year. It is not known what conclusions Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt and the ABM Agency will come to. Also remain unknown future recommendations regarding the approaches to the construction and selection of specific types of equipment.
Recent ones news About the future construction program of the Norwegian missile defense system show one interesting point, which is quite capable of being the reason for specific conclusions. According to the initial plans, the FFI and the Missile Defense Agency specialists were supposed to complete the necessary research several months ago, at the end of 2017. However, they did not do their job on time, and they were given another year. As a result, the process of creating a full-fledged project has shifted by 2019 year, and the signing of the necessary contracts - by 2020. Construction of the desired system, which is of particular importance to the country, will begin no earlier than 2025 of the year - seven years or later.
The topic of building its own Norwegian missile defense has been discussed for many years, and only last year it reached the start of real scientific research. Plans in this context are painted until the middle of the next decade. At first glance, all this looks reasonable and logical, but you can find certain reasons for criticism.
Long before the start of real work, the missile defense system in Norway was called strategically important; it was argued that in order to ensure the security of the country, it should be built and put on duty as soon as possible. However, the first studies began only in the 2017 year, and the first real results can be seen no earlier than in 2025. Such a schedule of work looks ambiguous, and does not fully confirm the declared priority of the project. Why the Norwegian command treats the issues of re-equipment and building a strategic “shield” - only it knows.
Anyway, after long meaningless conversations and loud statements without consequences, Norway began to study the issue of building an anti-missile defense. In due time, the scientists of the two countries could not complete the formation of the image of such a system, but over the next few months these works will be completed. Thus, over the next few years, the Norwegian command will be able to determine its plans and begin their implementation. New reports on the project should be expected closer to the end of the year.
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