Norwegian missile manufacturer Kongsberg is considering adapting the passive infra-red imaging seeker which is being developed for the New Anti-Shipping Missile (NSM) for the Penguin missile.

There are proposals to improve the Penguin's seeker and navigation systems, although this has not yet formally been requested by a customer. Kongsberg has confirmed that it is keeping an option open for putting an NSM-type seeker into the Penguin. The NSM's imaging seeker would be able to distinguish much more reliably between targets and decoys, and would also be able to identify different kinds of ships.

"Penguin will stay in service at least until 2015," says Kongsberg. Customers to date include Australia, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and the USA.

Meanwhile, Germany is considering buying an initial batch of about 40 NSMs to arm its corvettes. The weapon is being developed by Kongsberg and its French partner Aerospatiale.

The missile is now under development for the frigates and fast patrol boats of the Norwegian navy, which has selected the NSM to be its next-generation anti-ship missile system. Kongsberg says the missile could later be integrated into the NH Industries NH90 and Sikorsky SH-60 helicopters.

A prototype missile should be ready in about 2005, with production beginning shortly after, says Kongsberg. Although it says it has not formally begun marketing the missile, the Norwegian company confirms that interest has been expressed by the German navy.

The Norwegian manufacturer says that the NSM is a medium-range - more than 100km (60 miles) - stealth cruise missile with a passive infra-red imaging seeker. The missile carries a 120kg (265lb) warhead.

The 420kg missile will be turbojet-powered - although no powerplant has been confirmed - and will fly at high subsonic speeds. The company says that the Norwegian navy initially intends to continue using the 34km-range Penguin missile on its patrol boats.

Source: Flight International