Italy Orders New SAMP/T NG Air Defence Systems

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Italy Orders New SAMP/T NG Air Defence Systems
Italy ordered four SAMP/T Next Generation (NG) long-range air defence systems at the beginning of February 2024.

The deal includes four SAMP/T NG air defence systems: Aster 30 Block 1 and the new Aster 30 Block 1 NT air defence missiles.

Aster Block 1 NT provides an extended range of 150 km with a revised booster section and new Ka-band RF seeker. Compared to the previous Ku-band seeker of Aster 30 Block 1, the Ka-band seeker provides an extended scanning range and higher precision. These improvements will allow Aster 30 Block 1 NT missiles to intercept ballistic missiles with ranges up to 1500 km. For reference, the base variant of Aster 30 is only capable against SRBMs and TBMs.

In the future, Aster 30 Block 2 missiles will be added to the mixture. Aster 30 Block 2 is a dedicated solution against manoeuvring ballistic missiles up to IRBM class. The missile is externally and internally different from the previous models, with a larger diameter rocket motor and no fins. The layout consists of two booster stages propelling the thruster-controlled kill vehicle fitted with an IIR seeker.

Aster 30 Block 2 will be compatible with existing SAMP/T launchers and shipborne Sylver A50 vertical launch systems. In many ways, the missile will be a counterpart to the U.S.-made THAAD, except for being simultaneously designed for ground and naval use.

SAMP/T NG is a joint project between Italy and France to provide a long-range air defence system with capabilities against air-breathing targets and ballistic missiles. The system uses Aster 30 missiles known for having a PIF-PAF control system combining aerodynamic and thruster controls to maximise manoeuvrability.

SAMP/T NG battery consists of two radar options from France and Italy. Both radars can be observed from user to user. France offers Ground Fire 300 AESA radar with ballistic missile defence capability with an instrumented range of 400 km, depending on scanning mode. Italy offers Kronos Grand Mobile with track-on-jam capability and optional C-RAM mode with an instrumented range of 300 km.

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