The Norwegian government supports this strategy – with the prime vehicle for implementation the plan to replace the country’s F-16 combat aircraft from 2015 on. Three candidates – Eurofighter, Saab Gripen and the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter) – remain in contention, with a procurement decision scheduled to take place during the course of 2008. The Norwegian government has invested over $20 million to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter programme. Such investment is well worthwhile in such a project, as the Ministry of Defence estimates that the Norwegian defence industry has the experience and competence to gain more than $5 billion in international contracts related to the F-35 if the F-35 alternative is eventually chosen by Norway. Similar expectations have been communicated to the other two contenders.
The Norwegian defence industry is eager to prove that they can win these contracts. According to Ministry sources, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA), Volvo Aero and Kitron are among the prime candidates, but there are numerous other Norwegian companies with the products and skills to secure business relating to the combat aircraft projects.
Cutting Edge in Kongsberg
The roots of the Norwegian defence industry are deep. The town of Kongsberg stands out in this historical development, with Raufoss and the “Electronic Coast” of Norway – an area centred around the town of Horten – also making their mark on the industry.
KDA’s operations are directed towards defence and aerospace, with anti-ship missiles, command/weapons control systems and communication systems proven competitive on the defence export market. Alliances with major foreign defence enterprises are key in the company’s international marketing strategy. Several Kongsberg-developed technologies are well placed for meeting emerging operational requirements, including the NSM naval strike missile, whose continued development is aimed towards the potential to support land operations.
Dependability & Flexibility
KDA’s NASAMS II concept for ground-based air defence has an appeal because of its modularity, deployability and uses related to the AMRAAM missile. The associated command and fire distribution software facilitates improved networking of existing ground-based air defence systems, multiplying their effectiveness and efficiency without necessitating the purchase of new weapon systems.
Exporting combat management systems for frigates and submarines is challenging due to intense competition and difficult markets. Despite these challenges, KDA products related to mine warfare, harbour protection and undersea reconnaissance products have attracted interest from the navies of many countries.
Keeping it Secure
In the area of secure communication and information systems, KDA has a good market position in the Middle East with products tailored to generate a synergetic effect when used to build networked security or surveillance systems. The prognosis for continued business related to simulation systems is positive, due to the need to cut both the cost and environmental impact of training. Simulation technology can also enhance training effectiveness, resulting in a higher standard and results.
The rapidly expanding – but fiercely contested – market for force protection products is served by KDA’s Protector line of remote weapon systems. Customers include the US Army, and the resulting high production volume has helped the company win orders from numerous other nations.
Hotspots of Activity
Located in Raufoss, Nammo is a leading developer and manufacturer of ammunition systems, propulsion products and environmentally friendly demilitarization services. Research and development is integral in the company’s investments for the future – an example of this is the recent installation of equipment for the testing and production of C/C-SiC-based jet vanes. These highly advanced ceramic composite materials measure behaviour in the high temperature and erosive environment found in the plume of a rocket motor, which aids in maximizing the manoeuvrability of a rocket motor’s thrust vector. Nammo has introduced C/C-SiC-based jet vanes in the design of both IRIS-T and the Exocet Block 3 Booster, while another example of a successful application includes thermal protection systems for reusable space vehicles.
Another hotspot of Norwegian defence activity is the “Electronic Coast”, home to Techni, whose core business is product development and supply within the areas of rugged sensor applications, microsystems, industrial controllers and C4I workstations. Techni has had key involvement in such activities as Norway’s soldier modernization programme NORMANS, a light TOW missile launcher, the ultra-rugged mini workstation MFT, and currently is delivering parts to the F-35. Techni clients include Thales, General Electric, Siemens, Kongsberg, Moog and BAE Systems.
Secure IT & Communications
Thales Norway (part of the electronic systems and industrial electronics heavyweight Thales Group) has recently been awarded a contract to deliver and support a new tactical communications system for network-based command and control (MIDS/Link 16) to the Norwegian Armed Forces. Worth nearly $25 million, the solution will allow the Norwegian Armed Forces to perform integrated joint operations in real-time between military units. This system is fully compliant with the Norwegian Armed Forces requirements, the Allied Link 16 systems and the NATO system for air command and control.
In March 2005 the Norwegian military and Thales Norway arranged a user forum for Cryptel IP system users. Over 50 participants from twelve nations as well as various NATO organizations attended, and the positive feedback resulted in Thales Norway and the German military joining together to stage the Cryptel IP User Forum planned in Lechfeld, Germany in November 2006.
Another example of system excellence is VMETRO, which provides integrators of high-end embedded computer systems with products and services, from development through deployment, with the highest levels of performance, innovation and reliability. The products are based mostly on open standards like VXS, PCI Express, VME, PCI and CompactPCI.
Teleplan is a leading systems development and consultancy company focusing on defence, telecom, digital media and information technology. The company offers delivery of complete system solutions, recently securing two major contracts with the Norwegian government. These respective contracts encompassed IT and communication contingency plans and equipment in addition to a crisis management system.
Teleplan offers a wide range of services that include requirement analysis, system integration, system engineering, rapid software development and deployment, professional technical services and life-cycle support.
Simrad Optronics is one of the world’s foremost suppliers of defence and security electro-optical instruments. The company’s night vision products, including the KN series, offer lightweight and effective units that are mounted on existing day scopes or sighting systems with no modifications needed. The company’s range of laser target locators and gunsights combine top-end laser technology with innovative systems integration and are widely known for their ease of use and efficiency. With a global customer base, Simrad recently entered into a contract to supply the Malaysian Army with day/night vision binoculars.
The Norwegian company OCAS – Obstacle Collision Avoidance System – is at the forefront of technology related to aircraft warning systems. Offering an advanced system that is able to provide warning of other aircraft in the area, OCAS is fast developing a global market with both military and civilian uses alike. The combination of advanced technology with a high production level results in a cost-effective and user-friendly system.
The international corporation Flextronics is well represented in Norway, providing complete electronics design, engineering, manufacturing and logistic services to a wide range of customers, including in the area of defence. The company’s services and activities span the spectrum from concept studies, development, system integration and testing. With products made to order, customer operations are improved, costs are lowered and time to market is reduced.
Seeking Shelter & Flying High
ROFI has a long history of success and is recognized as a leader in the design, manufacture and supply of shelter and protection solutions. The company has recently developed the INNOVA tent, described as the next generation in frame tents, combining simple logistics, high quality and capability to withstand extreme weather conditions. With a weight of under 100 kg and a 10-minute set-up time, ROFI’s RAPID is an extremely user-friendly inflatable tent for rapid response units.
Heli-One AS is part of the world’s largest independent helicopter and support group (Heli-One), and provides worldwide helicopter support and logistic services for both military and civilian operators. Supplying a wide range of services, Heli-One has an extensive international military customer base with recent contracts including support and products for the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and the Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Malaysian Air Forces. Heli-One will also be greatly involved in the future support, maintenance and training for the new NH90 helicopter, shortly to be operative amongst a wide range of military organizations.
Safe at Sea & On Land
Umoe Mandal specializes in high-speed vessels for military use, offering a range of naval ship design from 15 to 60 metres in length. Umoe military vessels include the 25-metre Monohull Patrol and Rescue Craft, the 47-metre Air Cushion Catamaran Fast Attack and Patrol Craft, and the 30-metre Monohull Ultra-High Speed Patrol and Attack Craft. In addition, the company excels in Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMV), including the 55-metre Minehunters and Sweepers.
When European or anti-terror police or international forces roll into areas of conflict, they often enter with vehicles rebuilt and fortified by Karotek. Karotek rebuilds vehicles with steel and composite/ceramics, with armour that can withstand high-velocity piercing rounds as well as fragments from anti-personnel mines and shells. Spall liners prevent injury from secondary splinters, while penetration-proof windows complete the system with shockwave protection under seating and footplate defends occupants from blast effects.
Minding Norwegian Interests
The primary focus of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) is defence-related research, while also filling the role as the chief advisor related to defence science and technology for the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and the Norwegian Armed Forces.
FFI knows that the modern military requires perpetual renewal and close cooperation with both the defence industry and scientific institutions. The goal is a continual development of Norwegian defence-related technology expertise and research, a cooperative strategy that transcends Norway’s borders, as defence research requires a multinational approach.
Demand for FFI’s research has increased as armed conflict has become more complex. New communications technologies and improved protection from biological and chemical weapons are just two fields where FFI is currently investing resources, with the overall goal of facilitating higher effectiveness and safety in the field.
FFI addresses these challenges through a broad spectrum of research topics ranging from the assistance of operational units to the support of national security policy via defence planning and technology studies. A sample of FFI’s research and development results includes the following:
– Concept, requirements and technology development for the Norwegian Modular Network Soldier (NORMANS), a conceptual approach focusing on the future Norwegian soldier system. The concept covers all five NATO-defined capability areas: lethality, survivability, sustainability, mobility and C4I. NORMANS will be based on international standards through an ongoing cooperation with other NATO nations’ defence forces.
– One key factor to safeguarding Norwegian waters is space-based maritime surveillance. The SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) applications being developed will allow a full overview of inshore and high seas activities, report indications of seaborne invasion, facilitate open communication and assist in other activities such as search and rescue missions.
– Underwater manoeuvring has always been a critical part of military operations. Together with the Norwegian defence industry, FFI has developed one of the world’s most advanced autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), the HUGIN. This vehicle, developed to efficiently defect mines, allows accurate detection and classification of mines while the mother ship and crew remain at a safe distance.
– Norway has traditionally excelled in sea mine countermeasures. The country’s treacherous underwater terrain mas flexibility and development of new technology an absolute necessity. This unique minesweeping equipment developed in partnership between FFI and the Royal Norwegian Navy – never seen before either within or outside NATO – has been tested and now is in process of being implemented in the Royal Norwegian Navy.