Norway and the US have signed a five-billion kroner ($502 million) contract to deliver advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) for the F-35 Lightning II fighter fleet of the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Under the agreement, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence ordered AIM-120D3s, an upgraded version of the AMRAAMs used by the country’s F-16 Fighting Falcons and NASAMS air defense platforms.

“This is a very important agreement both for Norwegian defense capability and for Norwegian-American cooperation,” Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said.

“We are very pleased that Norway now also has access to such advanced missiles, and that we are now carrying out a major acquisition of medium-range air-to-air missiles that will unleash the potential of the F35 platform and strengthen our future defense capability.”

The AIM-120D3 AMRAAM, developed under the Form, Fit, Function Refresh. Image: Raytheon Technologies

The AIM-120D3 features a more powerful engine, upgraded data link, and control systems effective against modern aerial threats.

The completion of the AMRAAM handover is scheduled for 2028.

Long-Term Airspace Security

Once delivered, Norway’s most significant single arms deal will be utilized to “defend Norwegian airspace for several decades to come.”

“The F-35 is equipped with sensors that can find far more types of threats over much greater distances than before,” explained Gro Jære, Director of Norwegian Defence Materials.

“Through this acquisition, the planes get a weapon that also has major improvements in sensors and range, and which will be effective against everything from drones and cruise missiles to other combat aircraft.”

Creating Industrial Opportunities

Meanwhile, the ministry said it is engaged with AMRAAM developer Raytheon in an industrial cooperation agreement.

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“It is important for the government that large defense acquisitions from abroad should also create opportunities for Norwegian industry, and this is no exception,” Gram said.

“We see several relevant areas of cooperation that together can ensure value creation worth several billion kroner.”

Smart Weapon for Norwegian F-35s

Norway’s AMRAAM contract follows the acquisition of StormBreaker smart bombs for its F-35 fleet.

The warhead leverages the combined capability of infrared homing, active radar homing, GPS, data link, and semi-active laser guidance for precision strikes on stationary and moving targets.