Following the effective launch of the air defense frigate HORIZON program by the French and Italian Governments, which was announced on Friday 22 September, 2000, the Government Agencies of the two countries have notified the order for the initial production of the first two antimissile systems PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air Missile System). The systems will equip the two FOC (first of class) HORIZON frigates. One frigate is for the French Navy, and the other one is for the Italian Navy.

The order was notified to EUROSAM, via EUROPAAMS ­ the prime contractor for the European PAAMS system. EUROSAM will act as the prime contractor for the Franco-Italian configuration of the system. EUROSAM includes Aerospatiale Matra Missiles, Alenia Marconi Systems and Thomson-CSF.

The order is for the supply of two fire control systems based on the multifunctions EMPAR radar developed by Alenia Marconi Systems, in collaboration with Thomson-CSF. The contract also covers the initial armament of the two frigates, with a total of 120 ASTER 15 and ASTER 30 missiles manufactured by Aerospatiale Matra Missiles in collaboration with Alenia Marconi Systems.

The Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) is a new antimissile, surface-to-air naval defense system intended for the air defense frigates of three European navies: France, Italy and Great Britain.

A contract for the PAAMS antimissile systems was entered into on 11 August, 1999, for an amount of FRF 14 billion. This contract provides for the development of the system for the three countries. It also includes the initial production of a PAAMS system of a type 45 FOC frigate for the Royal Navy. This British configuration is based on the ASTER 15 and 30 missiles, but its associated fire control system is based on BAe System’s multifunctions SAMPSON radar.