Eurosam SAMP/T scores again
Recently, the SAMP/T system scored a new success. A joint team of French and Italian crew operating two French Air Force SAMP/T units conducted a test fire against a ballistic threat.
This was the third time that SAMP/T proceeded to a test firing against such type of threat, the second time by an operational crew. The test took place in CELM (South West of France), the DGA firing polygon. Like the previous ATBM firings, in October 2010 and November 2011, the target, air launched, was representative of a 300 km range TBM threat.
The differences with the previous ATBM intercept were significant, though. This firing was a premiere in several ways. On the one hand it was the first SAMP/T firing using L16 for data links with the higher echelons. On the other hand, while the previous two ATBM tests were conducted in a French specific environment, wholly controlled by DGA and French Air Force, this latest one can be called the first SAMP/T firing test in a NATO environment, close to what would be an operational use for an ATBM mission under the aegis of the alliance ALTBMD programme.
NATO BMDOC, located in Ramstein, was in the loop via L16 network. Last but not least, though the ground equipment was provided by French Air Force, the crew was a mix of Italian Army and French Air Force personnel, a token of the long lasting cooperation between the two nations in developing, building, testing and fielding SAMP/T.
SAMP/T is the only non-US built longrange air defense system contributing to the NATO Alliance capability against ballistic threats. French and Italian governments have committed to contribute to NATO ATBM defence with SAMP/T systems. NATO, Italian and French high-level representatives witnessed the test in CELM, as well as NATO personnel in Ramstein, thanks to the L16 data exchange.