During a demonstration of the service’s enhanced Island Air Defence (IAD) system at the western Lim Chu Kang Camp II on 17 December, the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF’s) Aster 30 SAMP/T self-propelled medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system emerged. The ground-based system has also been integrated into the RSAF’s networked Island Air Defence System, which can now counter a range of threats, from fighter jets to unmanned aerial vehicles and precision-guided munitions. The Aster SAMP/T system in 2018 to replace its heavily modified but ageing Raytheon MIM-23B Improved Homing All the Way Killer (I-HAWK) missile systems – operated by 163 Squadron – which entered service in the early 1980s.
The Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) announced that it had ordered the Aster 30 SAMP/T in September 2013 as an upper-tier system to supplement the mobile, shorter-range Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Surface-to-Air PYthon and DERby – Short Range (SPYDER-SR) system. The country has not disclosed the number of systems it ordered. However, Sweden’s Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its annually updated arms trade register that Singapore acquired two systems and 200 Aster 30 missiles, with a reported contract value of €651 million (U.S. $805 million).
The Aster 30 SAMP/T (sol-air moyenne portée terrestre or surface-to-air medium range terrain) is a land-based air defence system effective against high-speed threats such as tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, combat aircraft and drones. The missile is operated by various armed forces including the French Army, the French Air Force, the Italian Army, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force. 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 missiles and a store of reload missiles. The maximum speed of Aster 30 is 1.4km/sec and the missile has the capability to intercept targets at altitudes from 50m to 20km.
The Aster missile series, primarily comprising the Aster 15 and Aster 30 are a family of Franco-Italian vertically launched surface-to-air missiles. The name “Aster” stands from the mythical Greek archer named Asterion (in Greek mythology), Asterion likewise receiving his name from the ancient Greek word aster (Greek: ἀστήρ), meaning “star”. Aster is manufactured by Eurosam, a European consortium consisting of MBDA France, MBDA Italy (combined 66%) and the Thales Group (33%). The missile is designed to intercept and destroy a wide range of air threats, such as supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles at very low altitude (Sea-skimming) and fast flying, high performance aircraft or missiles.