The Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) has signed an initial contract with Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to acquire naval strike missile (NSM) capability.

The contract has an estimated value of NOK489m ($48.33m) and was announced by the Federal Government on 5 April 2022.

The order income has been booked in the second quarter of the current year.

Once acquired, the NSM will replace the existing Harpoon anti-ship missile on the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Anzac-class frigates and Hobart-class air warfare destroyers.

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace Missile Systems executive vice president Øyvind Kolset said: “Signing this initial contract to commence the acquisition of an Australian NSM capability is a very important milestone. 

“This is a clear demonstration of Kongsberg’s commitment to the accelerated delivery of NSM to the Royal Australian Navy to meet their requirements.”

Kongsberg’s NSM is a long-range, fifth-generation, precision strike missile, developed in Norway.

The NSM is primarily used for defeating maritime targets in heavily protected and contested environments.

Furthermore, the multi-mission NSM can be launched from various platforms, against different types of targets at the sea as well as on the land.

According to Kongsberg, the NSM’s high thrust to weight ratio and airframe design offers good maneuverability and sea-skimming capabilities.

The 396m-long NSM is completely passive and has high survivability against various enemy air defence systems.

The fifth-generation missile features autonomous target recognition (ATR). This feature ensures that the seeker is detecting, identifying and striking the correct target.

Last year in November, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) awarded two contracts to Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to provide NSM for the Royal Norwegian Navy’s vessels.

Kongsberg’s naval strike missile is a long-range, fifth-generation, precision strike missile, which can be launched against targets at both sea and land. Credit: © Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.