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Finlandia: la difesa aerea cambia

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Finland Updating Its Air Defense Systems





Control of the air isn’t a cornerstone of Finland’s defense, as it is for a country like Australia. Instead, Finland needs to make its airspace dangerous enough to deny enemies full air dominance, while its difficult terrain and mobile land forces bleed any Russian invasion until it quits. That thinking feeds into Finland’s recent decision to upgrade its medium and long-range air defenses, replacing existing radars and Russian 9K37-M1 Buk (SA-11 ‘Gadfly’) intermediate range anti-aircraft missiles with NATO-compliant solutions. The move will be Finland’s largest single defense purchase since it bought its current fighter fleet of over 60 F/A-18C/D Hornets.


The SA-11s were given to Finland in 2006, contributing $300 million toward the settlement of Soviet-era debts. The Buk is a successor to the SA-6 systems that featured prominently in several Mideast wars, and is also combat-proven. Russian forces used them to shoot down several Georgian drones, while Georgian forces reportedly used them to down at least 4 SU-25 close air support aircraft and a TU-22 Medium bomber during Russia’s 2008 invasion.


Upgrading Finland’s systems to 9K37-M2/M3 status was seen as a lower-cost option, but Finland decided to go with more advanced NATO systems for its Medium Range Air Defense Missile System (MRADMS) competition. The finalists came down to 2 choices. On one side was Kongsberg’s NASAMS, which uses the same AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles that equip the Finnish Air Force. On the other side was MBDA’s SAMP/T, a land-based version of the advanced naval systems that equip Britain, France, and Italy’s top-line air defense ships. And the winner is...




NASAMS launch



Nordic Cooperation: NASAMS for Finland


Kongsberg of Norway’s NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) has been adopted by Norway, the Netherlands, and Spain. A similar SL-AMRAAM setup is used in the USA to protect Washington, DC, and several Kongsberg components have found their way into the larger SLAMRAAM program that will equip American air defense units with the new missile. NASAMS’ missile range of up to 25 km is significantly shorter than the SAMP/T’s Aster-30’s range of up to 100 km, and is even shorter than the existing SA-11’s 35 km. It aims to offset that advantage by using dispersed defense pattern to broaden coverage and networking existing radars via radio data links, removing terrain-caused “shadows” and creating a real-time air picture that can be shared with other systems.


NASAMS’ core is provided by a combination of the AN/MPQ-64 F2 Sentinel 3D X-band radar, and the AIM-120 AMRAAM active guidance missile. The AMRAAM missile’s active radar homing means that external radar guidance is no longer required once the target comes within the missile’s own seeker range, allowing tactics like rotating burst scans and information sharing to improve survival odds, while establishing and confirming position data for incoming aircraft, UAVs, or cruise missiles.


Engagement can even take place with radars completely shut down. NASMS can use external data sources for position tracking, supplemented by NASMS’ MSP-500 electro-optical surveillance system in fair weather to establish a target’s location and verify its identity for firing.


A truck-mounted Fire Distribution Center provides command and control, offering seamless integration for a variety of missile systems from Patriot to man-potable very short range systems. The FDC automatically performs track correlation, identification, jam strobe triangulation, threat evaluation and weapon assignment.





Raytheon and its ThalesRaytheon Joint venture provide many of NASAMS core systems, including the AIM-120 missiles, MPQ-64 Sentnel radars, and FDC integration for the USA. Kongsberg acts as overall integrator for NASAMS, including production of the MSP 500, plus computing and software used by the system to network it together and enable sharing with other systems.


Compared to MBDA’s SAMP/T, NASAMS has much shorter range, lower aerodynamic performance, less vertical reach, a less advanced controlling radar, and lower-end technology generally. If required, SAMP/T could even be used in a ballistic missile defense role, something that is entirely beyond NASAMS. Kongsberg’s advantages included a cost advantage reported to be around 2:1, the ability to deploy more radars and protect more sites, the combat resiliency that accompanies their multi-radar deployment approach, and no need for a slope-free view.


Each system reportedly had supporters within Finland, but the country’s defense establishment appears to be more comfortable with dispersed defense of selected areas, rather than aiming for more centralized by wider-reaching airspace control. Finnish Chief of Defence Juhani Kaskeala was blunt:“Instead of one Cadillac, we bought 4 Volvos. Now we are getting more missiles than with the other option.”


The final contract is scheduled for autumn 2009, and deliveries will begin in 2011. Training of conscripts for the use of the new system will begin in 2012, in Parola near Hameenlinna. The new system is expected to become operational by 2015, at which point Finland expects to start phasing out its existing SA-11s.



Finnish Crotale NG



The NASAMS II air defense batteries will be supplemented by MBDA Crotale Next-Generation missiles and radars mounted on Sisu XA-981 wheeled armored vehicles, and by its troops’ SA-16/18 Igla shoulder-fired missiles.


Finnish Maj. Gen. Jarmo Lindberg underscored the importance of new radars and upgrades to that mix when he said that: “Radars are cut off every week, and the surveillance minimum is not reached.” Finland’s mal-acronymed JOKE 87 mobile radar system using Saab’s Giraffe MK IV C-band radar seems set to be upgraded, possibly to the newer Giraffe AMB model in use by neighboring Estonia and Sweden. Most of the funds for network improvements will buy new radars, however, as Finland supplements existing coverage with ThalesRaytheon’s X-band APQ-64 Sentinels, and adds long range surveillance provided by that same company’s S/I/J band Master-T and/or Ground Master 400 radars.










Ho postato questo a integrazione di quanto già messo due giorni fa nel forum dei missili terra-aria. Mi sembrava più importante e completo.



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