A major milestone was achieved with the delivery of the first SAMP/T missile by the Joint European Armament Cooperation Organization (OCCAR) in May 2009. In total, the joint Franco-Italian program will procure 15 SAMP/T systems 10 for France and five for Italy. The system employs a ground-based version of the naval Aster 30 surface to air interceptor, capable of intercepting Scud-type missiles is the first European missile system capable of performing missile defense missions. The French military will receive the 10 systems by 2013 and the Italians expect to complete delivery by 2016.

Aster-30 SAMP/T shown on a flight testing

Each system employs four to six mobile missile container-launcher firing units, comprising eight canister-stored Aster-30 Land Block 1 each. The vertically launched Aster is a two-stage, endo-atmospheric missile interceptor that employs a unique, combined aerodynamic and gas actuated attitude control system called “Pif-Paf” capable of delivering extreme maneuverability. Each unit also includes a mobile version of the Arabel radar, developed by Thales Air Systems, providing 360 degree search, surveillance and target acquisition for the missiles. The mobile launch system comprises four vertical launchers (with a capacity of up to six). Each firing unit can be matched with two recharging modules providing quick reload to ensure sustained defense.

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