Eurosam Achieves Europe’s 1st Ever Intercept of a Tactical Ballistic Missile

The FSAF missile family constitutes the most important missile programme ever launched in Europe and consists of Ground Systems (SAMP/T) and Naval Systems (SAAM – PAAMS) – the FSAF has been developed under a joint 50/50 program for the Italian MOD and the French MOD.

Within the framework of the FSAF(1) development programme whose goal is to provide the SAMP/T(2) system with an anti-tactical ballistic missile defence capability, EUROSAM(3) carried out a system firing at the Direction Generale de l’Armement (DGA EM) test range located in Biscarrosse (south west France) on 18th October 2010.

The target used for the firing was representative of a medium-range ballistic missile. All the successive phases of the operational engagement of a ballistic missile ran nominally: target designation transmission to the SAMP/T firing control system, target acquisition by the ARABEL radar, engagement sequence and firing decision, ASTER missile flight sequence and guidance through to target interception. The target was intercepted at the intended range.

For this firing, the SAMP/T system comprised the Engagement Module, the ARABEL Radar and Identification Module with its Electrical Generation Unit, a Vertical Launch Unit and the ASTER 30 Block1 Missile.

This successful firing is not only a demonstration of the dual capability of SAMP/T to intercept both conventional and ballistic threats but also of its ability to provide one of the key elements of the future European defence architecture discussed at the recent NATO conference in Lisbon.

The FSAF constitutes the most important missile programme ever launched in Europe and the second largest defence programme managed by OCCAR after the A400M tactical transport aircraft. Having been taken up by three European countries and two export countries, today, the Aster family offers the largest installed base of European missile systems. The MBDA/Thales order book for this system includes a total of 55 naval and ground-based systems and more than 1,700 missiles scheduled for delivery.

FSAF systems are operational in ground or naval configurations for missions associated with the self-defence of aircraft carriers, self, local and fleet area defence when deployed from frigates and destroyers, ground-based area defence as well as the anti-air protection of deployed and projected forces.

In the Aster 30 Block 1 version, which today equips SAMP/T, the missile is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles of the 600km class, the class which constitute the main current threat. Incremental evolutions of the missile have already been proposed to counter the proliferating and growing global ballistic threat. These evolutions will be transferable to all systems currently deploying Aster 30.
(1) / Famille de systemes Sol-Air Futur (Family of Surface to Air Systems)
(2) / The SAMP/T “Sol Air Moyenne Portee Terrestre” (Ground-to- Air Medium Range/Land) comprises a fire control system featuring the ARABEL Radar and Identification Module, the Engagement Module, and from 4 to 6 vertical launch units associated with the ASTER 30 missiles.
(3) / EUROSAM is a joint concern involving MBDA 5Italy and France) and Thales, acting as FSAF prime contractor and design authority.


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