Launcher For Aster PAAMS Ship Defence System Successfully Tested By MBDA and DCN

(Issued by MBDA on Oct. 22, 2002)

PARIS—On 16th October 2002, MBDA and DCN, the French ship-builder, conducted a successful test of the SYLVER A50 vertical launch system (VLS), firing a dummy Aster 30 anti-missile missile. The test took place at the Centre d’Essais des Landes (CEL), in south-west France.

This first trial validated the integration of the Aster 30 naval missile with the new A50 version of DCN’s SYLVER vertical launch system, opening the way for the full-scale development of the tri-national Aster PAAMS ship defence system.

The Aster PAAMS system uses a modular, vertical, launcher containing a flexible combination of eight, ready-to-fire Aster 15 (30km range) and Aster 30 (120km range) missiles. The trial was conducted to prove the interface between the Aster munition and the VLS to monitor the effects on munitions in adjacent VLS cells.

For the first trial, several cells in the launcher were loaded with either dummy missiles or with missiles containing test instrumentation. Others were left empty in order to determine the effects of shock, vibration and heat after launch.

The test results demonstrated the stability of the SYLVER launcher and the individual integrity of each cell after an Aster 30 missile firing. Production of the A50 SYLVER launchers is scheduled to commence at the end of the first quarter of 2003, in line with the PAAMS programme.

The Aster PAAMS system has been ordered by the French, Italian and British Royal Navy to provide point defence, local area defence for nearby ships and naval area defence for the fleet against omni-directional and co-ordinated attacks by sub- or supersonic missiles, aircraft and UAVs. The system will equip the French Navy’s Horizon class frigates, the Italian Navy’s Orizzonte class frigates and the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers.

PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air Missile System) is an advanced naval defence system programme under the prime contractorship of EUROPAAMS, an International Joint Venture Company jointly owned by MBDA (75%) and Thales (25%).

The programme was launched on 11th August 1999 with the award of a contract by the DGA in France on behalf of France, the UK and Italy.


–The Italian configuration of SAAM is now in its qualification phase. The first vessel to carry the system will be the Nuova Unita Maggiore aircraft carrier “Andrea Doria”, with the possibility that it may also be carried by the Italian navy’s New Generation frigates.

–PAAMS (the Principal Anti-Air Missile System) fitted to Horizon frigates has the same capability and will also be used to provide area defence. This system will benefit from the validation of the SAAM systems and should complete its qualification phase in 2004/2005.

The land-based system also uses components common to other FSAF family systems:

–The Thales Arabel multifunction radar system is fitted to the aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”.
–The Aster 30 version of MBDA’s Aster missile (which uses the same terminal missile stage as the Aster 15 version).
–Those elements of the Control System common to all naval systems (hardware and software).
–Those elements of the vertical launch system common to all naval systems (hardware and software).

EUROSAM was set up by the companies now known as MBDA Missile Systems and Thales to project-manage and market the FSAF family.