The SAMP/T also called MAMBA in the French army is a theatre antimissile system designed to protect the battlefield and sensitive tactical sites (such as airports and sea ports) against all current and future airborne threats, including cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft and tactical ballistic missiles in the 100 km range class. The SAMP/T is produced by Eurosam, a 50:50 joint venture between MBDA and Thales. Its key components are the Aster 30 interceptor and Arabel multi-function radar. The SAMP/T has been designed to operate in extreme clutter and electronic countermeasures environments.
The SAMP/T uses Aster 30 block 1 missiles which are equipped with a modified seeker, fuse, signal processing and a directional blast warhead where larger warhead fragments are directed towards the target. The Aster 30 missile has a tandem first stage solid propellant booster motor which is jettisoned after launch and turn-over and before the mid-course phase. The missile uses inertial mid-course guidance, with guidance correction update data being transmitted from the ground-based fire control centre via the Arabel multifunction radar’s uplink data channel. Aster 30 has the capability to intercept targets at altitudes from 50 m to 20 km. against aircraft targets flying at altitudes above 3 km, the maximum range of the Aster 30 is 100 km. At aircraft targets with altitudes below 3 km, the range of Aster 30 is 50 km.
The missile launcher unit of French army SAMP/T is mounted on a Renault 8×4 Kerax transporter erector launcher vehicle. Vertical Ground Launcher truck unit, mounted on French Renault-KERAX 8×8 trucks, a power generator module mounted on Kerax truck, maintenance and repair Kerax truck and missile reloader vehicle. The entire system could be airlifted by the latest NATO tactical transport aircraft such as the Airbus A400M and Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercules deploying them anywhere around the globe. The SAMP/T system comprises a fire control unit based on the ARABEL multi-function electronic scanning radar.
The first French MAMBA squadron achieved operational status in October 2011. In June 2012, the Italian Army activates its first SAMP/T Regiment, in Mantova. On 6 March 2013, the Italian Army and the French Air Force deployed their SAMP/T medium range air defence systems for the first time within a NATO architecture in successfully intercepting a target representative of a theatre ballistic missile. In September 2013, Singapore’s Defense Minister has announced that the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will acquire the Eurosam Aster 30 / SAMP-T Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) Air Defense System to establish a multi-layered defense against aerial threats.