The French Armed Forces are reinforcing NATO’s multinational Battle Group Forward Presence (BG FP) in Romania with the Eurosam SAMP/T (“Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain”) surface-to-air missile defence system, or MAMBA in support of the Alliance’s initiative to deter and defend the Eastern flank of Europe as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Since May 16, the French Armed Forces have been deploying the MAMBA last generation medium-range surface-to-air system as well as a centre of defence management in the 3rd dimension in Romania. This initiative shows the capacity for Allies France to protect and reinforce this area of importance for the Alliance.
Since May 1, 2022, the multinational battlegroup was set up with France as the framework nation supported by an alternating company of either Belgian or Dutch troops. It is part of the four additional battlegroups deployed by NATO to its Eastern flank along with Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. Implemented by approximately one hundred airmen, the MAMBA is a sophisticated weapon system that can ensure protection to the forces operating within the area. In order to enhance the system’s efficiency and to meet the needs of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD), it is connected and integrated to the Romanian and NATO defence systems through a tactical data liaison.
“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,” 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. 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,” said Colonel Pascal Ianni, French Chief of Defence Staff spokesperson.
The SAMP/T MAMBA is a theatre antimissile system designed to protect the battlefield and sensitive tactical sites against all current and future airborne threats, including cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft and tactical ballistic missiles in the 600 km range class. The SAMP/T is produced by Eurosam, a 50:50 joint venture between MBDA and Thales. The system uses a network of radars and sensors – including 3D phased array radar – enabling it to be effective against various air threats. SAMP/T uses an upgraded version of the Arabel long range radar, developed under the Aster 30 block 1 upgrade program, in order to extend the system’s capability against higher speed targets and higher altitude targets. The system can intercept missiles with a 600 km (370 mi) range.