Successful Test Firing of French SAAM/FR

Successful Firing of the French SAAM/FR

PARIS—Following the successful firing test of 31 May, 2001 (direct hit of an ASTER 30 on a target moving under severe electronic jamming conditions), a qualification firing test was performed on 29 June, 2001 on the naval version of the SAAM/FR self-defense system. The test was performed from the « Ile d’Oléron » test platform, off the coasts of TOULON.

All the system components were used to perform this firing operation.

The fire control using the ARABEL radar detected the target, leading to the engagement by an ASTER 15 missile that was fired from the SYLVER vertical launch module.

The ASTER missile ­ self-guided in the terminal phase ­ intercepted the target that simulated a sea-skimming missile flying just a few meters above the water in less than 2500 m and in just a bit more than 4 seconds. The direct impact on the target is another proof of the high agility of the terminal missile which, just a few tenths of seconds before interception, enabled the direct force control (PIF), thus inducing the ultimate trajectory corrections, and leading here again to the structural destruction of the target. Interception at a short distance also demonstrates the short range capability (SHORAD) of the system.

The last qualification firing test to be performed on the SAAM/FR system will be carried out this fall, allowing the ASTER 15 missile to join the SYLVER launchers and the ARABEL fire control already installed on board aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

The qualification tests of the Italian self-defense system ­ the SAAM/IT ­ will also start during this second quarter. The system also includes the SYLVER launcher and the same ASTER 15 missile round, which is combined with the EMPAR fire control. All these items will be tested on board Italian test ship CARABINIERE, off the coasts of TOULON. The system qualification is scheduled for 2002. The first production system should be installed on aircraft carrier NUMA Luigi AINAUDI in 2004.

Then the ASTER missile, the SYLVER launcher and the EMPAR fire control will be introduced in the PAAMS (E) system development program (initiated in August 1999). The system will equip the Franco-Italian frigates that were launched in October 2000.

Great Britain’s destroyer T45 is equipped with the PAAMS (S) variant. On this variant, the same SYLVER launchers and ASTER missiles are combined with British fire control SAMPSON. The two variants also include long range radar (LRR) T1850 M. The qualifications of these weapon systems should take place between 2004 and 2006. The PAAMS system is the principal system of the anti-air warfare frigates. The system extends the self-defense missions to area defense and medium range air defense missions. Three systems have already been ordered in 2000; and another seven should be ordered in 2002.

The programs are conducted by EUROSAM, using the skills of Aerospatiale Matra Missiles, Alenia Marconi Systems (which will soon gather in MBDA) and Thales.