On 27 December 2022, the FSAF/PAAMS (Famille des systèmes Surface-Air Futurs – Famiglia dei sistemi Superficie-Aria Futuri/Principal Anti Air Missile Systems) Programme Division achieved the second major milestone of the In Service Support (ISS) contracts renewal, by signing the new ISS#3 contract with EUROSAM, MBDA & THALES for a duration of 5 years (from 2023 to 2027). Therefore, from the 2nd January 2023, and in line with the previous ISS agreement, the Prime Contractor and his partners have been given renewed responsibility for the supply of Spares and Repairs for the SAMP/T, PAAMS, SAAM/IT, SAAM/FR systems and ASTER munitions, on behalf of OCCAR EA.
On the 26th October 1988, French and Italian Defence Ministers signed the Memorandum of Understanding of a bilateral cooperation for the development of a surface to air anti missile system family – FSAF. Phase 1 (Feasibility) of the programme is now complete. Phase 2 (Development) is nearing completion. Phase 3 (Production, firing section deliveries to the customer) continues and Phase 4 (In service support) is ongoing in accordance with the 2012 awarded contract.
The French Navy variant of the SAAM system, the SAAM-FR, has been installed on board the French Aircraft Carrier “Charles de Gaulle” to ensure its self-defence. SAAM-FR is based on the Aster 15N (N for Navalised). The Fire Control System is based on the Arabel X Band Multifunctional Radar and is in communication with the Combat Management System of the Carrier (Senit VIII System). The Arabel Radar is at the top of dedicated mast and a Sylver launcher has been installed in a place specially prepared for it. The installation of the first of class SAAM-FR system on board of the Charles de Gaulle was carried out in 1999.
The Italian Navy has chosen the FSAF System to ensure the self defence of the Italian Navy aircraft carrier “Cavour” in the similar way as France has done with the Charles de Gaulle carrier. Like the other FSAF systems, SAAM-IT is based on Aster 15N (N for Navalised) missile, but integrates a new radar, EMPAR, designed and built by Alenia Marconi Systems (now Selex). A replica SAAM IT system is installed at the Italian Naval Training Centre (Maricentadd) since 2003 and provides a reference for testing and qualification purposes.
Principal Anti Air Missile Systems (PAAMS) are new weapon systems based on common elements developed in the frame of the FSAF programme. The weapon system capability provides agile, rapid reaction “self defence”, “local and “naval area” defence Maritime capabilities for: the FR/IT Horizon frigate and the UK Type 45 destroyer. OCCAR manages the munition procurement programme for the Land and Maritime systems on behalf of the Participating States to achieve greater, cost effective economies of scale.
With regards to the current geopolitical context, France and Italy have required a higher commitment from industry, with the implementation of some new dedicated activities/services in order to support the increased operational demands on the systems. The FSAF-PAAMS PD was also able to negotiate an additional work package with THALES, to facilitate a contractual upgrade to increase the MRI (Module Radar Identification) operational availability. The last and equally as important FSAF/PAAMS ISS milestone will be the COTS & Services framework contract, open to European SME (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises) competition, to be signed by August 2023.