SHAH ALAM: What happened to the NSM? On April 5, the Australian government announced the acquisition of AUS$3.5 billion (RM11 billion) worth of missiles and mines for its Defence Force (ADF). The weapons are the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) for the Royal Australian Air Force; the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) for the Royal Australian Navy’s surface fleet; and Maritime mines to secure Australia’s ports and maritime approaches.
According to the release issued by the Australian Defence Ministry:
Acquisition of the Kongsberg NSM to replace the Harpoon anti-ship missile in the ANZAC Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers provides a significant enhancement to Australia’s maritime strike capability – more than doubling the current maritime strike range of our frigates and destroyers. Commencing in 2024, ANZAC Class frigates and Hobart Class destroyers will have the NSM capability installed.
The combination of NSM and previously announced Tomahawk Cruise Missiles is the best mix of capability to meet Australia’s needs and is proven in service with our key alliance partner, the United States
What this got this with us then? Not much really but it must be noted that Malaysia was supposed to be the first user of the NSM in Southeast Asia as we bought a bunch of the Norwegian maritime strike missiles back in 2018. In fact, the deal for the NSM was secured back in 2015 as Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) had contracted Kongsberg for the launchers and associated equipment for the LCS. The contract in 2018 was for the missiles themselves and it was between the government and Kongsberg due to export controls.
At the recent DSA 2022, it was announced that Kongsberg had signed the contract in relation to the Industrial Colloboration Programme (ICP) under the procurement of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM)as surface to surface missile for the Royal Malaysian Navy. The contract is listed at RM583 million which probably translated into 60 NSM missiles. As each LCS was supposed to carry eight missiles, it is probably we will have about 12 missiles as reserves or could be used on other ships like the LMS Batch II.
So have Kongsberg delivered the NSM then? Likely as the missiles contract was signed five years ago though there is no official confirmation. If it was delivered it is likely being kept the Lumut naval base armoury as it is the only place to keep live missiles. And close enough so it can be readily delivered to the RMN for testing purpose when the LCS and LMS Batch II are ready. Whenever that is, of course. I have no idea if the RMN intends to turn some of the NSM into ground launchers. It is possible of course but will need money, the main thing that we lacked. The lack of money may also kill any idea of putting the NSM on current RMN ships like the Lekiu, Kasturi and Kedah classes. Of course stranger things has happened before so I stand to be corrected, of course.
— Malaysian Defence
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