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French Air Force receives SAMP/T air defence systems

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The SAMP/T air defence system fires an Aster 30 missile. A French DGA photo

PARIS (BNS): The French Air Force has received two SAMP/T Mamba medium range land-based air defence systems from the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) in the past four months.

The two SAMP/T surface-to-air defence systems were delivered in March and May this year, thereby taking the total number of such weapons in the French Air Force’s arsenal to five, the DGA said.

France has ordered 10 SAMP/T weapon systems for its armed forces, deliveries for which are expected to be completed by 2013.

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 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.

When integrated into a battle management system, including an early warning system, or with a long-range radar for cueing purposes, the SAMP/T provides an anti-tactical ballistic missile capability against weapons such as the Scud missile (600 km range, ballistic trajectory).

The air defence system is also capable of providing air defence against medium-range conventional threats such as aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned combat aerial vehicles.

The SAMP/T passed operational acceptance tests in 2008 and entered into service with the French Air Force in 2010. The weapon intercepted its first ballistic target at the DGA missile launch test centre in Biscarosse in October 2010.

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