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France, Italy conduct SAMP/T air defence system test

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The SAMP/T system launching the Aster 30 interceptor missile. A file photo

BISCARROSSE, FRANCE (BNS): The French Air Force and the Italian Army have jointly conducted successful test firing of their SAMP/T medium range land-based air defence system on May 20.

The test firing, conducted from the French DGA's missile test site at Biscarrosse, involved two Aster-30 surface-to-air missiles which successfully intercepted two target drones.

The test firing was carried out as part of an air-defence firing campaign which demonstrated the interconnection of various air-defence networks operated by the French Air Force, the French Army and the Italian armed forces.

"This double shot mobilised significant resources from several centres and is a further demonstration of the operational capabilities of the SAMP/T system, particularly in terms of interoperability.

"It was also a double first: the first shot of an Italian SAMP/T from the DGA missile test site and first joint campaign shot between French and Italian operations," the French MoD said in a statement.

A Franco-Italian programme, the SAMP/T (soil-air medium-range terrestrial) has been designed by Eurosam -- a joint entity of MBDA and Thales.

The medium range land-based air defence system involves the Arabel multi function radar and the Aster 30 block 1 interceptor missile with vertical launchers.

A typical SAMP/T battery includes a command and control vehicle, Arabel radar and up to six transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles, each with eight Aster 30 missiles and a store of reload missiles.

The weapon is capable of providing air defence against medium-range conventional threats such as aircraft, cruise missiles, UAVs.

The SAMP/T passed operational acceptance tests in 2008 and entered into service with the French Air Force in 2010. The Italian Army's first regiment accepted the system in June 2012.

The weapon intercepted its first ballistic missile target at the DGA test centre in Biscarosse in October 2010. A second test was conducted in November 2011 followed by a third such test in March 2013.

The system could be integrated with the NATO's ballistic missile defence (BMD) programme.

Tags:

France  Italy  Missile  Aster 30  BMD  NATO  
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