Norwegian weapons in Gaza

Hellfire Missile
NORWAY / Although Norway does not allow arms exports to Israel, Norwegian munitions are in use in the Israeli military. Thus, it is also not unlikely that Norwegian munitions may have been used in the attacks on Gaza in May 2021.


With the author: Alexander Harang

For two weeks and one day in May, we witnessed an armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups. Thousands of rockets were fired at Israel. 12 lost their lives on the Israeli side. At the same time became Gaza bombed by hundreds of fighter jets, helicopters and drones. In these attacks, 242 people were killed. 56 of those killed were children.

Although it is forbidden to export weapons directly from Norway to Israel, Norwegian munitions still find their way to Israel. Both munitions produced in Norwegian-owned factories abroad, and weapons systems with Norwegian-made parts are currently used extensively by Israel. Norway also exports munitions to our allies without requiring a guarantee that these materiel will not be re-exported to Israel – even though the practice of these allies is to export similar munitions to Israel. This is because the Norwegian arms industry contributes components and inputs to larger weapons systems. These weapons are then imported by Israel, then mainly from the United States.

Hapira At Demonstration Against Bombing
By Gaza, In Oslo, 19 May 2021

Most of the munitions that Israel currently imports come from the United States. That is why the United States – which is also by far the largest importer of Norwegian war materiel – is the major transit country for Norwegian weapons technology to Israel. Among the most talked about examples of Norwegian munitions in use in Israel's warfare are sniper ammunition Mk-211 and the shoulder-fired M72 rocket. Israel has admitted that these Norwegian weapons were used in wars in Gaza and Lebanon in the 2000s. Missiles such as Hellfire and Sidewinder are partly Norwegian-developed, and or Norwegian-produced, and are today key elements in the Israeli military.

The example «Hellfire» from Hurum

Hellfire is a missile Israel uses in large quantities. The missile is fired from drones and attack helicopters at ground targets. Israel has taken civilian lives in occupied territories on numerous occasions with this missile. As for the Hellfire AGM-114, it is a version of the missile Israel has acquired large quantities of over a long period of time. This missile uses the fuel RDX, which is produced by Chemring Nobel at Hurum. RDX has been exported from Norway to the USA, where the Lockheed Martin Group assembles the rocket itself.

The company that has been responsible for over decades RDX The deliveries to Hellfire are Chemring Nobel A / S, located in Hurum, outside Oslo. In addition to contributing to Hellfire, the company now also supplies components for missile weapons such as TOW, Dragon and AMRAAM. All these missiles are also used by Israel.

Allows import but not export

The Norwegian export ban on munitions to Israel extends all the way back to the Bondevik II government. Norway has also not allowed direct arms exports to Israel since 2002. This is most often justified by the fact that Norway defines Israel as an occupying power, and the settlements in the West Bank as contrary to international law. Despite this, Norway itself imports munitions from the Israeli arms industry. If the aim of the export ban is to avoid contributing to the Israeli military, it goes without saying that a total import ban on Israeli munitions would also have been in place.

Since 1982, the Norwegian Armed Forces has practiced requirements for industrial cooperation or repurchases in military procurements of a certain size. Since January 2008, the limit for such repurchase claims has been NOK 50 million. This means that the Norwegian authorities demand to be allowed to export munitions to states we import correspondingly from, if these imports amount to more than 50 million. Since Norway has an export ban for munitions to Israel, annual military imports from Israel can therefore not exceed a value of NOK 49,9 million.

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