Home Europe France, Italy agree on transfer of SAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine

France, Italy agree on transfer of SAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine

SAMP/T for Ukraine by Spring 2023
French defense ministry file photo of a SAMP/T system

The defense ministers of France and Italy announced on Friday that they have fleshed out details on the delivery of the jointly-developed SAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine by this spring.

During a phone call, Italy’s defense minister Guido Crosetto and his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu defined the final technical details for the delivery of the system to Ukraine.

Also referred to as Mamba in French military service, SAMP/T will be joining the German IRIS-T as the second European-developed air defense system to be supplied to Ukraine.

These two will be joined by the Patriot air defense system being supplied by the United States in coordination with Germany and the Netherlands, as well as the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS).

The announcement on the delivery of the SAMP/T to Ukraine follows the visit of Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov to Paris late last month, during which he said he was pleased with “progress on the SAMP/T system delivery.”

During his visit, Reznikov also signed a contract with Thales for the purchase of the GM200 air defense radar, which will enhance the effectiveness of SAMP/T.

As described by MBDA, one of the companies involved in the development and manufacturing of the system, SAMP/T employs Aster 30 missiles to meet medium and long range air defense needs (force projection, protection of high-value areas and area protection). It can operate in stand alone mode or can be integrated in a coordinated network.

Aster is a two-stage missile, a concept which leads to maximum effectiveness of the interceptor stage. The solid propellant booster ensures the optimum shaping of the missile’s trajectory in the direction of the target and separates a few seconds after the vertical launch. Up to its mid-course, the weapon is inertially guided, using refreshed target data transmitted by the engagement module through the multi-function radar. During the homing phase, guidance is achieved by an electromagnetic active seeker.

France and Italy are also working on a “New Generation” SAMP/T that will introduce ASTER Block 1 NT (new technology) interceptor missiles with new seekers, new electronic equipment for the launchers and a new multifunction rotating active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.