Fighting in Ukraine Boosts Interest in NASAMS

a missile is fired from a launcher on the ground near water and rocky terrain

National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS). Image – Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS

The Russo-Ukrainian War has been effective in showcasing the capability of certain weapon systems.  Case in point, the NASAMS, developed by Raytheon and Kongsberg.

This medium-range air defense system uses a modified AIM-120 AMRAAM.  Originally, interest in this system was low, especially after the U.S. Army placed only a token order.  The program proceeded at a moderate production rate for years but with the risk of termination always hanging over it.  This program’s production run may have already ended if not for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is regenerating interest in short- and medium-range air defense systems, especially the more mobile ones.  Russia was slowly wearing down Ukraine’s air defense capability, and rapidly depleting its available stockpile of missiles.  Western nations quickly began to provide Ukraine with surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), including systems capable of engaging small threats like strike missiles and attack drones.

Although there is no confirmation, Ukraine claims it has a 100 percent success rate with the threats engaged by the NASAMS.  Taiwan faces a massive aerial threat from China.  Beijing, tired of the slow pace of reunification talks, continues to threaten invasion if Taipei does not agree to accept its rule.

To repel any invasion, Taiwan will need a strong and resilient air defense network.  No doubt, Beijing will attempt to suppress Taiwan’s air defense systems.  Russia’s inability to dominate the airspace over Ukraine is a major factor in its failure to win a quick victory.  To thwart a similar plan by Beijing, Taiwan will supplement its fixed air defense systems with more mobile SAMs – a candidate to meet part of this need is NASAMS.

Demand for the original NASAMS model will probably not last.  What the market could see is stronger demand for short- and medium-range SAMs, especially more mobile systems.  Furthermore, the Russo-Ukrainian War could ignite greater demand for anti-aircraft cannons or systems that use less expensive interceptors when engaging attack drones and other, similar aerial threats.

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