I got a message yesterday which I initially ignored. Nothing wrong with the message, but I can only go to so many places in an hour and this message stretched me too thin, as such I let it be. Yet this morning I had a few moments so I checked out the message from Defense One. It gave me ‘US Trying to Persuade More Allies to Send NASAMS Missiles to Ukraine, Raytheon CEO Says’ (at https://www.defenseone.com/business/2022/12/exclusive-us-trying-persuade-more-allies-send-nasams-missiles-ukraine-raytheon-ceo-says/380382/) the thing triggered something, but I did not exactly know what was triggered. I thought I knew, but it was too far into the past for that to make sense. Yet the article set me straight. Initially we might see “U.S. officials are working to broker a deal with NATO and Middle Eastern nations to send some of their NASAMS interceptors to Ukraine, Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes said Thursday”, it did not help me much and “the Pentagon awarded Raytheon a contract for the first two NASAMS batteries. The company delivered the interceptors within six weeks, Hayes said, because it had many parts on hand and because Doug Bush, the Army’s top weapons buyer, helped speed things along.” So I had to seek out more information and there the other cog fell to the floor. NASAMS or Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System is the child of the Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) and there the cog felt. It is a system from 1980. Kongsberg is led by Eirik Lie (weird name for an honest person). And there my defence knowledge partially kicked in. I knew of it, but that is about all I had. The Norwegians had designed the system to replace two Nike Hercules facilities in defending Norway’s southern air bases, where it would act in conjunction with F-16s in providing a layered defence, and that it did very well. I reckon that the engineers are proud as peacocks that this system can go to town on Russian missile systems 42 years later, there is no replacement for true innovation. I always said it and here you see it. OK, it was upgraded to a third version in 2019, but still it was tailored to a good design. And now we see Raytheon seeking assistance (of a sort). Here is also the problem I see. If manufacturing is a hard part, there are two sides to helping out now. What if this was Russias plan all along? What happens when Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Oman, and Chile ship what they can ‘spare’ and a week later Spain and the Netherlands feel the brunt of running low on stock? I am not saying that this will happen, but the steps of Russia have to a larger extent not made sense and the pro-Russian coalition of the Dutch FvD will use that setting to every extent and that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
An alternative could be to assist Saudi Arabia with their 2030 goals and create a NASAM production facility there. If distributed manufacturing is a solution, creating an additional pool of manufacturers would become essential. In addition, the US and EU need every positive vibe they can muster as such the option has two benefits. Adding these solutions to Germany, Sweden, Denmark and France make perfect sense as well. When that happens we see five additional manufacturers, but that is not a short term solution, Ukraine needs missiles now and 2 years is too long. Yet with 5 additions, 2 years would be shrunk to 13-15 months, already a large saving. Now sending part of the needed missiles makes sense as there would be 5 additional creators. I see the simple setting that resources are required, then we see the manufacturing and after that shipping. The last part has plenty of options, the first two less so, although we can see that manufacturing is the bottleneck, Russia will soon see that if these 5 nations unite, Russia will end up having less and less options. And that is before we consider alternatives, You see Iceland has only 4% unemployment, but it might be reason to create another plant on the US base there (or next to it) which could create up to 2500 jobs. As such we see six options, is it a solution? I honestly do not know, but when the waiting list is two years something needs to give and it would be nice to see this before Russia gets to be creative with their missiles, ask Poland how that worked for them. The EU (US too) needs to act now, but merely getting others to send what they have might not be the safest path, not with current timelines. That is how I see it and if someone says I am wrong, I will not deny that my idea was completely ‘ad hoc’ and it would require scrutiny, but what would you do when you get told that anti-missile solutions are two years away? Especially when you consider what Russia is doing to the civilian population of Ukraine?