A new premiere for eurosam SAMP/T

(Source: Eurosam; posted November 14. 2011)

On 14 November, A French Air Force MAMBA (SAMP/T) system successfully intercepted a target representative of a ballistic missile. The event took place off the DGA missile testing range (CELM), on the French South-West coast. The MAMBA fire control system was cued via DGA means, until its ARABEL Multi Function Radar started tracking the target. The ASTER 30 missile was launched and guided by the MAMBA fire control system, then it autonomously destroyed  the target with a direct hit.

This was the second, successful, ATBM firing with a SAMP/T system, after the one which took place on 18 October, 2010, on which occasion SAMP/T premiered an all-European anti-ballistic capability. This week’s firing was the first ATBM intercept by a French Air Force crew, and also the first MAMBA firing since the system has been formally declared operational by French Air Force, on 12 October 2011.

It is a series of continuous successes with SAMP/T firings, since its qualification started:

  • Qualification firings, with industry crew, on 26 July 2005, 20 December 2005
  • and 14 November 2006.
  • Evaluation firings by Italian Army, on 22 and 26 May 2008
  • Evaluation firing by French Air Force, on 3 July 2008
  • Test firing, with industrial crew, on 8 December 2008
  • ATBM firing, with industrial crew, on October 18 2010
  • Operational training firing by the French Air Force, on 1 September 2011

The French Air Force currently owns 7 MAMBA systems; whilst the Italian Army owns 3 systems.

SAMP/T (christened MAMBA by the French Air Force) is the cornerstone of Italy and France’s contributions to the North Atlantic Alliance tactical ballistic missile defence capability. Both Nations are procuring SAMP/T through a common  Programme Office managed by OCCAR, the European procurement agency.