Norway has acquired a new land forces electronic warfare capability for communications intelligence gathering.
A renaissance in land forces Electronic Warfare (EW) is being seen across the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Norway is the latest country to join the ranks of France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States in overhauling her land forces EW systems.
On 12th September, Rohde & Schwarz announced it had supplied the Hæren (Norwegian Army) with the Heimdall (Watchman of the Gods) electronic warfare system. Sources close to the procurement told Armada that Heimdall will chiefly be used for tactical Communications Intelligence (COMINT) gathering. No details have been released regarding Heimdall’s capabilities. Nonetheless, it is highly likely that the system will detect and identify emitters across wavebands of at least 30 megahertz to six gigahertz.
Publicity pictures of Heimdall show it equipping a Patria X-300 six-wheel drive armoured personnel carrier. The system should detect ground-based emitters at ranges of at least ten kilometres (six miles). The sources continued that the first Heimdall deliveries occurred in July and August. Deliveries are expected to conclude in late 2024. The installation of the Heimdall equipment is believed to have occurred at Rohde & Schwarz’ facilities in Germany.
The Norwegian Army is known to have one intelligence battalion which is the formation deploying Heimdall. The Intelligence Battalion is located at Setermoen in northern Norway. This makes sense as the battalion is deployed close to the Russo-Norwegian border. The border area is now a potential area of tension following Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In wartime it is likely that Heimdall will deploy with this brigade. The platforms will also support wider NATO efforts within and without the Alliance’s area of responsibility.
Heimdall is believed to be replacing the Norwegian Army’s current Narvick Technology P6-300M tracked electronic warfare platforms. Deliveries of these vehicles to the army took place in the 1990s and they were equipped with EADS’ SGS-2000 Hummel COMINT and Communications Jamming (COMJAM) system. Given that the Norwegian Army has six of these vehicles, the may make a like-for-like Heimdall replacement.
Other new systems
The Heimdall procurement forms part of a larger overhaul of Norwegian land forces electronic warfare capabilities. Norwegian press reports say that the Fåvne initiative covers the procurement of an electronic attack capability. The reports continued that this should become available in the spring of 2024. Fåvne may comprise the addition of new Communications Jamming (COMJAM) capabilities to equip the Heimdall vehicles. Sources close to the procurement hinted that this is a possibility. Beyond Heimdall and Fåvne, the army will procure the Einherjer (Unicorn) system. Reports say that Einherjer will be configured to provide operational-level EW to the land manoeuvre force.
The addition of Heimdall to the Norwegian Army’s capabilities marks an important enhancement of its electronic warfare posture. With Fåvne and Einherjer also on the horizon the army will soon have one of the most potent EW forces in the Scandinavian and Baltic regions.
by Jr Ng