Award of Phase 3 Contract of the F.S.A.F. Programme

PARIS (November 13, 2003) — On behalf of France, Italy and Great Britain, OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement) awarded the 3 billion euros FSAF Phase 3 contract to the Eurosam E.I.G. and UKAMS on 12 November 2003.

For Eurosam, the contract means the series production of 18 Land-based Medium Range Ground-to-Air (SAMP/T) systems and associated Aster 30 missiles. The contract also covers the supply of Aster missiles for the SAAM Fr, SAAM It and PAAMS systems for the [French navy] aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the [Italian navy’s] future aircraft carrier Andrea Doria and [the two navies’] Horizon-class frigates.

For UKAMS, the contract means supplying the Aster missiles required for the British T45-class destroyers.

The acquisition of SAMP/T systems is one of the aims of France’s current 5-year defence expenditure plan (Loi de Programmation Militaire française) and the Italian Medium-Term Military Programme, as part of the ongoing modernisation of weapons systems now in service and the need to protect strike forces against all airborne threats, including tactical ballistic missiles. This contract also supports the NATO initiative to examine “an active multilayer air defence architecture within a wider theatre”.

This contract marks a major step towards a Common European Security and Defence Policy as outlined in the statements made at the Salonika summit. It is the result of a technical challenge presented to the European defence industry and will have a direct and positive impact on that industry’s development and ability to compete at global level.

The land-based SAMP/T system offers significant export sales potential like the naval systems that will also provide anti-aircraft defence for the 27 FREMM European Multirole Frigates.

Together, contracts for FSAF, PAAMS and derived systems now include 21 naval systems, 20 land-based systems and 1800 missiles.

Eurosam, the IEG that brings together the ground-to-air weapons system skills of MBDA and Thales Air Defence, was created to provide project management and marketing for FSAF systems.


1. SAMP/T System

SAMP/T is a theatre antimissile system designed to protect the battlefield and sensitive tactical sites (such as airports and sea ports) against all current and future airborne threats, including cruise missiles, piloted and unpiloted aircraft and tactical ballistic missiles in the 600 km range class. Deliveries of the system are planned to begin in 2007.

SAMP/T will form part of an Extended Air Defence scenario to provide protection for forward strike forces and support for “host countries”. It will also be capable of delivering defence against ballistic missiles of 600 km range class.

SAMP/T offers:
– A genuine anti-missile and anti-aircraft capability covering all the latest threats, whose behaviour is characterised by their speed, manoeuvrability, angle of attack and flight altitude. This capability is delivered primarily by the reaction time of the fire control system and the manoeuvrability of the missile;
– 360° detection and engagement coverage ensured by each section deployed: the rotating multi-function radar antenna and the vertical missile launch system;

– High firepower compatible with countering multiple, coordinated and multidirectional attack (up to 48 missiles ready to fire);

– The ability to track 100 trajectories and engage 10 of them simultaneously on the basis of priority criteria;

– High resistance to counter-measures;

– Forward strike capability (tactical and strategic mobility);

– Speed and ease of unit deployment and withdrawal;

– Very short system implementation time;

– Very limited number of personnel required to deploy and use the system;

– The ability to work in standalone mode or as an integral part of a wider architecture.

SAMP/T will form part of an Extended Air Defence scenario to provide protection for forward strike forces and support for “host countries”. It will also be capable of delivering defence against ballistic missiles of 600 km range class.

SAMP/T meets the two key operational needs of strike forces:
– mobility
– interoperability

Mobility means that the system must be able to be deployed strategically (transportable by air) and tactically (transportable overland). The challenge lies in finding the right compromise between mobility and system performance.

Whether the mission is asset defence or extended area defence, mobility is a vital strength because it enables the rapid deployment needed to ensure protection of forward positions (land units) or support positions (ports, airports, etc.), thus improving system survival.

Each sub-system is made up of modules that can be transported directly by air with a minimum of resources, using aircraft such as the C130, C160 and A400M.

Each system component is mounted on a 16-tonne vehicle and can be moved easily through every type of environment.

Interoperability means the ability to be incorporated into an architecture or be used in coordinated mode with other national systems or those operated by allied forces. Integration delivers the ability to centralise certain decisions and coordinate the engagement of air defence resources.

2. The naval component of the F.S.A.F. family

Alongside SAMP/T, Eurosam is developing a family of naval systems in response to the range of missions required to counter the new generation of threats:

– The French version of the SAAM (Surface Air Antimissile) naval self-defence system is now operational on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and is carried by the SAWARI 2 frigates.

– The Italian configuration of the SAAM system has also completed its qualification phase and will be carried first by the aircraft carrier Andrea Doria.

– PAAMS (the Principal Anti-Air Missile System) will be carried by the Franco-Italian Horizon frigates for self-defence and area defence.

3. The Aster missile

The Phase 3 contract includes the supply of Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles for the various naval systems and Aster 30 missiles for SAMP/T. This production order demonstrates the relevance of the modular multi-mission concept behind the Aster missile family, in which versions 15 and 30 share the same terminal stage.

4. Summary of FSAF programme phases

The programme was launched in 1988 with the signing of a framework agreement between France and Italy.

The Phase 1 contract was essentially the contract to develop the systems for the FSAF family, whilst the Phase 2 contract covered the pre-production and initial production stages of the SAMP/T system.

The ATBM capability of the SAMP/T system was the subject of a needs analysis launched in 1993, which was followed in December 1998 by a preliminary study, with the first stage of the development contract being signed in February 2000. The second stage forms part of the Phase 3 contract.

Under the PAAMS programme, Eurosam signed the contract to develop and manufacture the first production examples of the Franco-Italian variant of the system in August 1999: the same contract also covered the supply of Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles. A contract covering both systems was signed in April 2003.

5. Successful examples of European cooperation

The FSAF and PAAMS programmes are successful examples of inter-governmental cooperation over ground-to-air missile systems. In addition to the coordinated scheduling of the various items of equipment and new developments, both programmes have been marked from the outset by their ability to fulfil the common military requirements of Italy and France within the FSAF programme and Italy, France and the UK for the PAAMS programme.

6. The European Defence Industry

At the industrial level, the FSAF and PAAMS programmes have contributed to the restructuring of the European defence industry and the awarding of the series production order contributes further to the manufacturing capacity of France, Italy and Great Britain in what is a strategic area of high technology.