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French Navy Conducts Test Firings with Aster Air Defense Missiles

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French Navy Conducts Test Firings with Aster Air Defense Missiles

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French Navy Conducts Test Firings with Aster Air Defense Missiles
French Navy Conducts Test Firings with Aster Air Defense Missiles

The French Navy recently conducted test firings of Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles from two of its prominent warships: the air defense frigate Chevalier Paul and the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. These operations, which occurred just before the ships embarked on the AKILA mission, showcased the Navy’s preparedness for potential threats in challenging environments. The Chevalier Paul, serving as the vanguard in air defense within the Naval Air Group (GAN), effectively neutralized a long-range aerial threat using an Aster 30 missile. Meanwhile, the Charles de Gaulle demonstrated its combat prowess by successfully hitting an aerial target with an Aster 15 missile, affirming the operational readiness and efficacy of the French Navy’s multi-layered defense system.

These tests, conducted in collaboration with the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and leveraging the operational expertise of the French Navy, closely mimicked real-world scenarios. Such exercises are vital for ensuring that crews are well-trained to handle high-intensity situations during naval combat. The simulated targets for the missile launches included reconnaissance drones and anti-ship missiles, providing a comprehensive assessment of the Navy’s ability to counter diverse threats. The exercises were supported by the DGA Missile Tests expertise and test center (Levant site), which played a pivotal role in coordinating the launches and setting up the targets.

The French Navy has successfully launched air defense missiles from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle
The French Navy has successfully launched Aster air defense missiles from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle

The Aster 15 and Aster 30 are a Franco-Italian family of all-weather, vertical launch surface-to-air missiles. The name “Aster” stands for “Aérospatiale Terminale”, with French company Aérospatiale having been the project’s lead contractor before its missile activities were merged into MBDA. The missiles as well as the related weapon systems are manufactured by Eurosam. The Aster is primarily operated by France, Italy, as well as the U.K. as an export customer, and is an integrated component of the PAAMS air defence system. The Aster missiles were developed to intercept and destroy the full spectrum of air threats from high-performance combat aircraft, UAVs and helicopters to cruise, anti-radiation and even sea-skimming supersonic anti-ship missiles.

Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy. The ship is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy. She is named after French president and general Charles de Gaulle. The ship carries 4 × 8 cell A-43 Sylver launchers carrying the MBDA Aster 15 surface-to-air missile. Chevalier Paul is a Horizon-class frigate of the French Navy. The main mission of this type of ship is the escort and protection of a carrier strike group formed around an aircraft carrier, usually Charles de Gaulle or one of the aircraft carriers of the US Navy. Aster missiles are the main weapon system of Chevalier Paul. The ship is equipped with 32 Aster 30 missiles and 16 Aster 15 missiles, housed in vertical silos of the Sylver A50 type, located on the foredeck.

The French Navy has successfully launched air defence missiles from the air defence frigate Chevalier Paul
The French Navy has successfully launched air defence missiles from the air defence frigate Chevalier Paul

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