Vanguard in the rain from the side

Securing a nation’s interests within the regional and global maritime environment is more complex than ever. That is why Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KONGSBERG) has developed the Vanguard system - a combination of state of the art commercial technology, unmanned systems and ability for long-range influence by use of mission modules with advanced, flexible and interoperable units.

Conflicting international interests in accessing and controlling sea-based trade routes, ownership of maritime territories and resources, and with an existing foreign military threat, the need for advanced, flexible and interoperable maritime assets are becoming more important than ever.

Facing a continuously changing environment, with increased speed in technology development, the world’s navies need to be prepared for untraditional, new threats. That is why sailors now need to be equipped with the best technology and combat capabilities available in the maritime industry.

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The KONGSBERG Vanguard consist of a main host vessel with embarked mission vehicles, equipped with sensors and effectors, covering three domains; underwater, surface and in the air environment. Even though some manned vehicles will be deployed in operations, the preferred operational mode of the future is autonomous, with the ability to be remotely controlled or even conducting autonomous operations as unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles. Sensors, effectors or vehicles can be operated by mission specialist crew members, remotely controlled within the task group or from headquarters by a specialist team. Designed to integrate subsystems, leverage new interfaces and to be adaptable for future technologies and operational needs, the Vanguard is not fitted for the future, it’s already installed.

The integrated unmanned vehicles onboard extend the overall range of the Vanguard system. Sensors and effectors in both air, at the surface and underwater provides a new form of situational awareness. Instead of modifying a naval vessel to every mission, the Vanguard is designed to allow mission vehicle changes. A combination of unmanned vehicles covering the three domains - change the vessels role from combat ready to a command & control center. The combat management system (CMS) is modular and has been refined over several decades. Vanguard’s combat information center is an information hub creating data for a more efficient decision-making by the command team. The operator interface is easily adaptable and the system will support all mission modules selected by the customer.

The Vanguard system integrates the sensors, effectors or vehicles the customers need ensuring low risk, high operational effectiveness and quality. With air surveillance Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar in its mast, world leading surface-to-surface missile Naval Strike Missile (NSM), and an adapted NASAMS based air defence system with air missiles used on both Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and in KONGSBERG’s NASAMS system, the Vanguard is a floating powerhouse. Both the maritime and air defence system is integrated in the same network and the joint environment provide a stronger defence for the vessel.

The Vanguard can contribute in emergency response to oil spill and hazardous substances releases in the ocean. Credit: KONGSBERG


KONGSBERG’s Vanguard system optimize the transfer of technology cycle between commercial and military technology, without compromising military capability. Nation’s navies has a vessel-turnover of forty years, but by having the ability to use lessons learned from maritime communities with a higher turnover, may put a maritime company or Navy in a favourable situation. Because of the transfer of technology cycle, the Vanguard provides 30 percent more time available at sea than traditional navy ships. And with the condition based maintenance feature, sensors onboard the Vanguard system will notify the crew when it is time to replace parts, which will reduce both cost and docking downtime. The goal is to keep the vessel operative 24/7 in order to secure and provide availability, flexibility and capability.


The Vanguard will provide a capable, adaptable and affordable solution to homeland defence or deployed to operations abroad. The current and future requirement of a nation’s navy, air, land and space forces is to be able operate in a joint environment and be able to exchange information effectively and faster than the enemy. Information and data management is a key factor in selecting and using the right sensors, effectors and communications when operating in a combat situations. KONGSBERG has a long and proven experience as a system integrator, and the strength of the Vanguard is its capability to be integrated in joint operations, providing interoperability between maritime and air component commanders. Sensors and effectors are easily integrated based on an open architecture network-centric structure enabling interoperability between surface to surface missile system, air surveillance, air control and air defence systems.

To meet today’s, and be prepared for tomorrow’s operations, the KONGSBERG Vanguard system is multi-mission capable. The Vanguard system can conduct maritime surveillance, mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface and anti-air warfare. By being able to change mission modules on short notice, the Vanguard can go from engaging in maritime surveillance in anti-piracy operations to provide deterrence and long range engagement by use of NSM. Different missions but with the same system.

In an ever changing environment, world’s navies call for advanced, flexible and interoperable maritime assets. KONSGSBERG’s Vanguard is not only fitted for these changes, but already equipped with sensors, weapons and vehicles to meet this requirements.

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A key national security requirement is the effective understanding of all activities, events and trends in the maritime domain that could threaten the safety, security, economy, or environment of a state.

VANGUARD is a maritime system adaptable and affordable to every role relevant to achieve this understanding and to act accordingly. The effective area covered by VANGUARD is the combined areas of the mothership and the UAVs/USVs acting in manned, remote or autonomous modes.

Vanguard on the ocean from the front 2