French Navy Takes Delivery of First Series-Production Aster 15 Naval Missiles

PARIS—The first series-produced Aster 15 Naval missiles were delivered at the beginning of December 2001 for the French Navy’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier before its departure for the Indian Ocean to join the naval component of the interallied coalition led by the USA.

The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is fitted with a SAAM/FR system consisting of a fire control system which integrates the Arabel multi-function radar, Sylver vertical launch modules and Aster 15 Naval missiles.


The Aster 15 Naval anti-missile and anti-air missile is highly accurate and is part of a new generation of anti-missile systems.

The Aster 15 Naval is the first Western surface-to-air missile to use an active electromagnetic seeker and a two-stage deployment configuration, with a second arrow-type interception stage, known as the ‘kill-vehicle’. This is controlled by the state-of-the-art PIF-PAF thrust-vectoring system, enabling direct force control at the ‘kill-vehicle’s centre of gravity. This type of control gives the Aster missile extreme agility and accuracy when confronted with moving targets, significantly improving on the previous generation.

The Aster 15 Naval fulfils a range of SAAM (Surface-Air Anti-Missile) close-range naval defence requirements including: – self-defence of the combat vessel equipped with the SAAM system, ranging from 1.7 km to 30 km maximum – protection of neighbouring vessels, within a radius of several kilometers around the firing vessel.

The Aster 15 Naval allows a very wide spectrum of present and future threats to be tackled, such as sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air, anti-radar or cruise type. It also allows defence against all types of modern aircraft: combat, surveillance, jamming aircraft, helicopters and drones. It is able to combat all-out saturating attacks in a very high electronic countermeasures environment.

The Aster 15 Naval missile considerably widens the scope of naval self-defence due to its ability to outperform current point defence missile systems (PDMS) in a number of areas. For example, Aster 15 Naval has an optimized direct impact capability against anti-ship surface-skimming missiles, a widened zone of protection around the carrier vessel (at extended ranges up to 30 kilometers and an altitude of 15,000 meters) and a larger protected naval zone, covering both « self-defence » of the Aster 15 Naval carrier vessel and « close protection » of neighbouring vessels within a radius of several kilometers.