On 18 July 2023, OCCAR-EA Director Joachim Sucker and Eurosam Managing Director Eva Bruxmeier signed the Amendment of the FSAF-PAAMS Sustainment & Enhancement (S&E) contract for the procurement of new-generation ground based air defence systems SAMP/T NG for Italian Air Force. This procurement adds to the SAMP/T NG production ordered in January 2023 for the Italian Army and French Air and Space Force. Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement (OCCAR) has awarded this amendment to the S&E contract, by delegation of Segretariato Generale della Difesa e Direzione Nazionale degli Armamenti (SEGREDIFESA) and Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), to the Italo-French consortium Eurosam; backed by its three shareholders MBDA France, MBDA Italia and Thales LAS France. The contract was signed in the presence of SEGREDIFESA, DGA and Italian Air Force representatives as it sees this additional service joining as a new FSAF-PAAMS domestic user, following the Italian Army and Navy, the French Navy and Air and Space Force and the British Royal Navy. With this contract, Italian Air Force will be equipped with SAMP/T NG ground-to-air defence capabilities, fitted with the Kronos Grand Mobile High Power radar from Leonardo. The SAMP/T NG system development, launched in 2021 in cooperation between France and Italy, is an enhancement of the SAMP/T system in service since 2010 and currently deployed in Europe and in the Middle East.
The SAMP/T NG is designed to achieve all Ground-Based Air Defence missions with enhanced key capabilities. It is a long-range surface-to-air missile defence system able to:
- Offer a 350 km-plus aerial surveillance range and a 150 km-plus interception range.
- Operate in a dense civilian air environment, in cooperation with friendly military aircraft and fully integrated into air defence networks.
- Provide a 360-degree protection to armed forces and sensitive civil or military sites.
- Offer a dual capability to defeat simultaneously all types of targets, in any combination of types.
- Counter emerging and future threats as diverse as hypersonic missiles, manoeuvring ballistic missiles, re-entry vehicle ballistic missiles, high velocity cruise missiles, UAVs and highly manoeuvring aircraft, in a saturation attack scenario and a challenging cyber environment.
- Deploy quickly with a limited number of personnel and integrate easily in an air-defence network.
The SAMP/T NG system is based on:
- An enhanced missile to enlarge the ASTER family: the ASTER Block 1 NT (new technology) from MBDA including a new seeker and a new computer.
- An upgraded launcher.
- A new 360-degree multifunction rotating Active Electronically Scanned Array radar: the Kronos Grand Mobile
- High Power from Leonardo for Italy and the Ground Fire 300 from Thales for France.
- A common command and control module based on upgraded open command and control software architecture and enhanced connectivity.
With these enhanced features, SAMP/T NG will provide France, Italy and any other customer with the capability to guarantee their airspace sovereignty, to protect their territory and population and to protect their troops in operations.
The contract was signed in the presence of SEGREDIFESA, DGA and Italian Air Force representatives as it sees the latter Armed Force joining the FSAF-PAAMS programme alongside the Italian Army and Navy, the French Navy and Air & Space Force, and the British Royal Navy. With this contract, the Italian Air Force will be equipped with SAMP/T NG ground-to-air defence capabilities. The SAMP/T NG system development, launched in 2021 in cooperation with France and Italy, is an enhancement of the SAMP/T system in service since 2010. The system comprises multifunctional radars (GF-300 by Thales for France and Kronos GM HP by Leonardo for Italy) with increased capability of detection and tracking of modern targets, including ballistic and hypersonic threats, and a new Engagement Module, which allows for enhanced robustness against saturating threats, high velocity cruise missiles, as well as increasing defended zone against ballistic missiles. This new systems will use both ASTER 30 Block-1 and ASTER 30 Block-1 NT (New Technology) air defence missiles from MBDA.