The French armed forces have deployed their MAMBA missile system and an air defense command post to Romania to augment NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD).
The surface-to-air missile defense system has been deployed on NATO’s eastern flank since May 16, as part of a collective effort to improve defensive posture in the region following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
With the deployment of MAMBA to Romania, France has further increased its forward footprint in support of NATO’s enhanced vigilance towards potential threat from the East.
The MAMBA is operated by the French Air and Space Force as a theatre anti-missile system to protect tactical sites against airborne threats, including cruise missiles, tactical ballistic missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft. The system’s main components are the Aster 30 interceptor missile and the Arabel multi-function radar.
Also known as SAMP/T, the medium-range surface-to-air system provides protection against ballistic missiles and other threats. It can track 100 trajectories and engage multiple incoming missiles with its Aster 30 missiles. The system is capable of intercepting aircraft at distances of over 100 kilometers, as well as ballistic missiles at distances of up to 30 kilometers.
“Besides the French deployment to Romania, Germany and the Netherlands have deployed Patriot batteries to Slovakia and the United States sent two Patriot batteries to Poland in April 2022. These deployments are critical augmentations enhancing the alliance’s IAMD posture in a changed geopolitical environment,” said Brigadier General Christoph Pliet, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Air Command that oversees NATO’s air operations.
“The French MAMBA deployment shows France’s capacity and will to protect her own interests as well as those of her Allies,” said Colonel Pascal Ianni, French Chief of Defence Staff spokesperson.
“It permits to reinforce the strategic partnership that has united France and Romania since 2007, especially in the field of air defense. The MAMBA deployment is firmly embedded in the multinational Forward Presence Battle Group which France, supported by the Netherlands and Belgium, established in Romania under NATO’s aegis.”