The French Air Force's (ALAT) 2/95 Sancerre Air Defense Squadron (EDSA) has successfully conducted the first operational firing of the Aster sol-air moyenne portée terrestre (SAMP/T) air defence system at the Landes missile test site in Biscarrosse, France.
Carried out jointly with Surface-to-Air Engineering Support Squadron 2E950 following a year of preparation, the trial involved implementation of the system's entire chain of command, including installation of deployable theatre, a detection and control centre (CDC/D) based in Evreux, and an air-defence combat management centre (CMD3D).
Leveraging discrimination capabilities of the SAMP/T's identification friend or foe (IFF) system, the engagement scenario featured two aerial targets replicating a friendly fighter chased by a hostile aircraft at an altitude of 2,000ft and at a speed of 450k.
Targets identification and classification responsibility was transferred through a Link 16 datalink from the CDC/D to the CMD3D for firing orders during the multi-system firing trial campaign.
The target's range was 50km at the time of firing, and was intercepted at a range of 40km.
Based at Avord, EDSA 2/95 Sancerre represents the latest squadron to have become operational on the Mamba air-defence system.
Manufactured by Eurosam, an MBDA and Thales joint venture, the SAMP/T air defence system provides 360° protection against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, combat aircraft and unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) over a range of 600km in the battlefield.
Designed for the French Army and Air Force as well as the Italian Army, the system features a network of advanced sensors and radars, including a Thales ARABEL 3D phased array radar, to increase effectiveness against targets at high speeds and altitudes.
Mounted onboard a Renault 8x4 Kerax transporter erector launcher vehicle, the French version features eight missiles that can be salvo-fired in less than ten seconds, while an Astra 8x8 transporter erector launcher trucks are used by the Italian Army.
Image: A SAMP/T missile being launched.