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France, Italy fund development of next-generation of SAMP/T missile system

SAMP/T missile defense system
Photo: MBDA

France and Italy have signed a contract for the development of a new version of the SAMP/T air-defense system dubbed SAMP/T NG (New Generation).

The bi-national contract with eurosam, a joint venture of MBDA France, MBDA Italy and Thales, was signed at OCCAR premises in France in the presence of the French Air and Space Force staff, the Italian Army staff, the OCCAR Director and National representatives of the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) and of the Italian Armament Directorate (SGD).

The contract covers several upgrades to the theater-level air defense system in service with the French Air Force and Italian Army to defend against airborne threats. SAMP/T premiered an all-European anti-ballistic capability in 2010, intercepting a target representative of a ballistic missile.

Under the contract that was signed on March 19, eurosam will be working on enhancing the ASTER Block 1 NT (new technology) interceptor missile with a new seeker and a new computer to allow it to face emerging threats.

Other upgrades will include new electronic equipment for the launchers that are mounted on Italian Astra/Iveco and French Renault-KERAX 8×8 trucks and a command and control module based on upgraded open command and control software architecture.

SAMP/T NG is also receiving a new multifunction rotating active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Thales and MBDA describe the SAMP/T NG as a long-range air-defense system designed to achieve all ground-based air defense missions. The system is capable of countering maneuvering ballistic missiles, re-entry vehicle ballistic missiles, high-speed tactical missiles, UAVs and aircraft.

The SAMP/T that is currently in service represents the backbone Italy and France’s contributions to NATO’s tactical ballistic missile defense capability. They procured the system through a common program office managed by the European procurement agency OCCAR.