On Wednesday January 27, the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Normandie successfully conducted a training firing of an Aster 30 anti-aircraft missile off the coast of the Landes (Biscarosse) site of DGA-Missile Trials. This successful firing against an aerial target, carried out at the combat station, crowns the regular training of the crew in the use of their weapons. The Aster 30 fired by the Normandie destroyed its target, an aerial drone representing the behaviour of missiles that can be encountered by French Navy vessels. This target was deployed by DGA-Essais de missiles, which also provided coordination and security for people and property in the area.
Fitting directly into the framework of the Mercator strategic plan, this type of firing trains crews to face, in realistic environments, high intensity situations likely to be encountered if deployed in naval combat zones. Equipping the Normandie since its delivery in 2019, the Aster 30 missile is also on board the FREMM Bretagne, the air defence frigates (FDA) Forbin and Chevalier Paul and will be on the FREMM-DA (air defence). Normandie and its sister ship Bretagne are fitted with SYLVER A50 launch cells (instead of SYLVER A43) able to accommodate larger Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles. The Aster 30 gives the FREMMs the ability to defend a valuable unit against the air threat.
Lieutenant Commander Jean-Edouard, deputy commander of operations, stated that “The nominal performance of a complex firing and its success are always the cause of great satisfaction. This success underlines the high level of preparation of the crew, and confirms the operational quality of our weapons systems.”
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 for ” Aérospatiale Terminale ” (French company Aérospatiale being the original lead contractor before becoming MBDA) and from the mythical Greek archer named Asterion (in Greek mythology). 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.