The Australian Army and Integrated Air Defense


It is obvious that the Australian Army needs to play a key role in providing longer range fires and active defense both on Australian territory as well as in operations not on Australian soil.

This subject was discussed at the recent Williams Foundation Seminar held in Canberra on August 23, 2918 when the focus was upon the need for Australia to develop independent strike capabilities.

This is clearly a work in progress.

With the introduction of the new NASAMS  system, the topic has gained more prominence.

(More on NASAMS below).

An article published in the official Australian Army newspaper on August 9, 2018, provided an update as seen at the Integrated Air and missile Defence seminar held in Canberra on July 25, 2018.

Through the lens of integrated battle space command, talk centered on new missile and detection technologies that afford new levels of protection for ground forces.

Maj-General Gus McLachlan said developing interoperability was key to Australia’s future defense capability.

“This is an incredibly important step for Army with genuine collaborative engagement with the Air Force and Navy.

“We are about to move into an incredible new era and we are intellectually preparing for it.”

“It is the first advanced machine assistance to help decision-making.

“We got plenty of thinking and learning to do about what this capability means for the ADF and Army has a real responsibility and opportunity to help design an integrated air and missile system.

“This is just the first part of what would truly be a joint system…..

“There’s a lot of work to do,” Army’s Director General Training and Doctrine Brig. Gen. Ben James closed the seminar saying that missile defence was integral to delivering a “one defence” approach to the battlespace.”

“This is not business as usual; this is breaking new ground for Army,” BG James said.

“It’s essential we start learning from our sister services, from our industry partners and from our coalition allies analysis of similar systems in service already.”


With regard to the Australians and NASSAMs, an October 4, 2017 press release from Kongsberg announced the purchase of the NASSAM by Australia.

The Australian Government has announced that a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) solution will be developed for the Land 19 Phase 7B project – the Ground Based Air and Missile Defence capability for the Australian Army through a Single Supplier Limited Tender process to Raytheon Australia.

Raytheon Australia has been identified as the Prime System Integrator and KONGSBERG will be a major sub-contractor in the program. NASAMS is a proven and fielded mobile air defence system in service with seven nations today, including Norway and the United States.

“We are pleased to see that NASAMS is recognized as the preferred ground based air defence capability solution for the Australian Army and we are looking forward to the process leading to a contract”, says Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence Systems.

The inherent flexibility and modularity of NASAMS makes it a world leading solution with unique capabilities to combat modern airborne threats, as well as having the ability to integrate with networks and a variety of different sensors and weapons.

“NASAMS is one of the most successful KONGSBERG products internationally and we are proud to be part of the Raytheon Australia team for delivery of this capability to the Australian Army”, Lie said.

And by participating in the F-35 global enterprise, Kongsberg is developing a very flexible joint strike missile which will be launched by the F-35 initially, but can operate off of ships and land as well.

And by being part of the F-35 program, the JSMs Kongsberg builds for the Norwegian planes are integrable from the ground up with other F-35 partners, two of which have shown advanced interest, namely Australia and Japan.

In a February 26, 2015 press release from the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, the partnership was announced between Australia and Kongsberg.

The Norwegian Ministry of Defence and the Australian Department of Defence have agreed to cooperate on the development of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), following talks between Norwegian State Secretary Mr. Øystein Bø and his Australian colleague Mr. Stuart Robert during the Norwegian State visit to Australia this week. The agreement seeks to support the introduction of an advanced maritime strike weapon on the F-35 in the early 2020’s time frame.

Although far apart geographically, Norway and Australia share many of the same challenges. We are both maritime nations on the periphery of our immediate regions, with a large land mass and even larger maritime territories, yet relatively limited populations. This means that we have to maximize the effects of the capabilities that we invest in to ensure that they cover as much of the spectrum of operations as possible, said Norwegian Minister of Defence, Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Norway and Australia have maintained a close dialogue for several years regarding the JSM within the framework of the multinational F-35-partnership. This agreement takes the process one step further, with Australia agreeing to provide expertise in missile control and guidance systems.

The cooperation between Norway and Australia on the JSM was announced at Avalon Air Show earlier today. From the left, Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Leo Davies, Norwegian State Secretary of Defence Mr. Øystein Bø, and Executive Vice President of Kongsberg Defence Systems, Mr. Pål Bratlie

– The JSM is already a very capable missile, but with the support of Australia, we hope to make it even better. Though Australia is still a few years away from making any final decisions on its future maritime strike capability, we are encouraged by the interest they have shown for both the missile and for the capabilities of Norwegian industry. We should now continue talks between our two governments, and aim to formalize this agreement in the near future, said Norwegian Minister of Defence, Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The Joint Strike Missile is an advanced long range precision strike missile, tailor made to fit the internal weapons bay of the F-35. The F-35, combined with the JSM, provide the ability to both locate and defeat heavily defended targets, both on land and at sea, at extended ranges, significantly enhancing the strategic capabilities of the aircraft. The missile utilizes advanced navigation, a passive infrared seeker, low signature and superior manoeuvrability to ensure mission effectiveness, thereby providing user nations with significantly enhanced combat capabilities.

Norway intends to procure up to 52 F-35A aircraft to enhance the ability of its Armed Forces to meet future security challenges, with first delivery planned for late 2015. Norway’s first four aircraft will be based at the F-35 International Pilot Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base Arizona, while the first F-35 will arrive in Norway in 2017. Australia has so far committed to procuring 72 F-35A, out of a planned 100, with the first two aircraft delivered in 2014.