(Issued May. 24, 2006)

PARIS — On the 23 rd. of May 2006, the first qualification firing of the Franco-Italian ASTER PAAMS (E) naval air defence system took place in the waters off the French coastline from the Italian ship Carabiniere.

This firing has been executed in a configuration fully representative the PAAMS (E) System: the Empar Firing Control System (FCS), the Vertical Launching System A50 (VLS) and the Aster 30 munition.

The objective of this firing was to qualify the ability of the system to intercept a target which simulated the threat presented by an attacking aircraft with strong ECM. The trial was fully successful and the target was destroyed at long range by a direct impact of the missile. This success follows on from the successful PAAMS munition firing on October 12 2005. EUROSAM, as Design Authority of the System, coordinated the industrial firing activities with the teams from MBDA F, MBDA IT and THALES AD along with the national test range teams involved in the operations. This success is the result of this international organisation and its ability to work together.

The Aster PAAMS system was ordered by the Royal Navy and by the French and Italian Navies in order to provide their fleets with area defence and self-defence capabilities as well as protecting neighbouring surface ships against all subsonic or supersonic threats such as missile, aircraft or drones. This system will be installed on the French Horizon Class Frigates, Italian Orizzonte Class Frigates and as a variant, PAAMS(S), on the British T45 Class Destroyers.