The event took place off the DGA missile testing range (CELM), on the French South-West coast.
The MAMBA fire control system was cued via DGA means, until its ARABEL Multi Function Radar started tracking the target. The ASTER 30 missile was launched and guided by the MAMBA fire control system, and then it autonomously destroyed the target with a direct hit.
This was the second, successful, ATBM firing with a SAMP/T system, after the one which took place on 18 October 2010 where SAMP/T premiered an all-European anti-ballistic capability.
This week’s firing was the first ATBM intercept by a French Air Force crew, and also the first MAMBA firing since the system has been formally declared operational by French Air Force, on 12 October 2011.
It is a series of continuous successes with SAMP/T firings, since its qualification started:
- Qualification firings, with industry crew, on 26 July 2005, 20 December 2005 and 14 November 2006
- Evaluation firings by Italian Army, on 22 and 26 May 2008
- Evaluation firing by French Air Force, on 3 July 2008
- Test firing, with industrial crew, on 8 December 2008
- ATBM firing, with industrial crew, on October 18 2010
- Operational training firing by the French Air Force, on 1 September 2011
The French Air Force currently owns 7 MAMBA systems; whilst the Italian Army owns 3 systems.
SAMP/T (christened MAMBA by the French Air Force) is the cornerstone of Italy and France’s contributions to the North Atlantic Alliance tactical ballistic missile defense capability. Both Nations are procuring SAMP/T through a common Program Office managed by OCCAR, the European procurement agency.
On another front, the French Navy air defense frigate Chevalier Paul successfully tested its PAAMS air defense system on 17 November 2011. This was the longest range intercept to-date for the Eurosam system, with any PAAMS system, whether Italian, British or French.
Meanwhile, HMS Defender, the fifth T45 class destroyer from the Royal Navy equipped with PAAMS (UK) system, christened Sea Viper, completed its first sea trials, before returning to the shipyard, in Glasgow.