Eurosam Boosts Defense Arsenal: Expanded Production of Aster 30 Surface-to-Air Missiles Enhances Italy's Military Capabilities

Eurosam Boosts Defense Arsenal: Expanded Production of Aster 30 Surface-to-Air Missiles Enhances Italy’s Military Capabilities

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Eurosam to Produce More Aster 30 Surface-to-air Missiles for Italian Armed Forces
Eurosam to Produce More Aster 30 Surface-to-air Missiles for Italian Armed Forces

OCCAR-EA (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement- Executive Administration ) Director Joachim Sucker and Eurosam Managing Director Anne Diaz De Tuesta signed the 14th Contract Amendment for the FSAF-PAAMS Sustainment & Enhancement (S&E) Contract, which covers the production of Aster 30 B1 ground, Aster 30 B1NT ground and naval for the Italian Participating State in consistency with the global order of Aster munitions contracted by OCCAR-EA for France and Italy in December 2022. The Aster 30 is a Franco-Italian family of all-weather, vertical launch surface-to-air missiles. The Aster 30 Block 1 were designed to counter ballistic missiles. Aster 30 Block 1NT (New Technology) is a further anti-ballistic missile intercept upgrade against a range-class of 1,500 km (930 mi) medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs).

This amendment also saw the launch of SAMP/T NG ground systems production activities. Through this amendment Eurosam and its members MBDA and Thales will produce four SAMP/T NG sections for the Italian Army, and supplementary activities for France with the aim to secure the future launch of the full serial production of SAMP/T NG sections for the French Air Force. This is an additional step towards the renewal of this European Medium-Range Air-Defence Ground capabilities, following the SAMP/T NG development launched by the two Nations in 2021, the production of pre-serial systems beginning 2023 and the joining of the SAMP/T and Aster community by the Italian Air Force with the procurement of five SAMPT NG sections last July 2023.

This contractual change includes the supplementary procurement of additional equipment for the United Kingdom for the Mid-Life Update Aster production. The MLU Aster production is ongoing since 2021 for the three Nations, and OCCAR and Industry met the first deliveries for France and Italy in December 2023. This amendment, in fact, is a further catalyst that promotes and reinforces the existing cooperation amongst the three Nations. OCCAR-EA and Eurosam will therefore continue to lead the way for the benefit of the French and Italian Air Forces, Italian Army and the three Navies in this particular global context which demonstrates the importance to provide upgraded Air-Defence systems to face more and more challenging threats.

The Aster as well as the related weapon systems are manufactured by Eurosam, a consortium consisting of MBDA France, MBDA Italy, both with a combined 66% share, and Thales holding 33%. The name “Aster” stands for “Aérospatiale Terminale”, with French company Aérospatiale having been the project’s lead contractor before its missile activities were merged into MBDA. The missile is primarily operated by France, Italy, as well as the United Kingdom as an export customer, and is an integrated component of the PAAMS air defence system, known in the Royal Navy as Sea Viper. As the principal weapon of the PAAMS, the Aster equips the Horizon-class frigates in French and Italian service as well as the British Type 45 destroyers. It equips the French and Italian FREMM multipurpose frigates, though not through the PAAMS air defense suite itself but specific French and Italian derivatives of the system.

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