First Qualification Firing of the Aster PAAMS System

(Issued June 6, 2006)

PARIS — The first qualification firing of the PAAMS system, based on an EMPAR radar and a naval ASTER 30 missile, was performed on 23 May 2006.

The firing was carried out from an Italian Navy ship against a sub-sonic Mirach target engaged at mid-range ( 35 km approx.) and medium altitude ( 7 km approx). All the system components of PAAMS were used, including the EMPAR radar, the associated fire control function, the ASTER 30 missile and the Sylver A50 launcher.

ASTER 30 registered a direct hit in intercepting the target.

This successful firing is the result of a sustained cooperation between the major industrial contractor teams involved – MBDA, SELEX and THALES – under the supervision of the EUROSAM consortium, acting as prime contractor for the whole system. This latest success also puts on track further qualification firing operations for the PAAMS EMPAR system.

The ASTER PAAMS system has been ordered by the Royal Navy, as well as the French and Italian Navies, to provide their respective platforms with area and self-defence capabilities, and also the capability to protect neighbouring surface vessels against sub-sonic or supersonic threats, such as missiles, aircraft and UAVs. This system will be installed on board the French and Italian Horizon class frigates and on the British Type 45 destroyers.

The PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air Missile System) is an advanced naval defence system programme developed under EUROPAAMS prime contractorship, an international Joint Venture owned by MBDA (75%) and Thales (25%). The programme was launched on 11 August 1999, with the notification of a contract by the DGA (the French Armament Procurement Agency) on behalf of the three nations: France, Italy and the UK.

With an annual turnover exceeding EUR 3.5 billion, a forward order book of over EUR 14 billion and over 70 customers world wide, MBDA is a world leading, global missile systems company. MBDA currently has 45 missile system and countermeasure programmes in operational service and has proven its ability as prime contractor to head major multi-national projects.

MBDA is jointly owned by BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%).