France and Italy will arm Ukraine with a modern SAMP/T mobile anti-aircraft defense weapon, French ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins said.
According to the statement of the French ambassador, which dates from November 9 but whose report was not published until December 13, all the lights are now green for the sending of this long-range system, developed by MBDA and Thales within the missile-based joint venture Eurosam.
“France and Italy will provide Ukraine with the anti-aircraft defense instruments it requests,” noted Etienne de Poncins. “It is a very strong request that President Zelensky made and the Italians confirmed to us that they were ready to grant it. So we can meet their needs.”
The plan of a SAMP/T delivery had already been mentioned by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in an interview with Le Monde on December 9. “We are asking for SAMP/T and the Franco-Italian Mamba system,” he explained.
The SAMP/T, also known as Mamba in Italian service, is a 21st-century Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system designed to protect sensitive sites and deployed forces against missile threats (TBM, stand-off, cruise missiles, ARM) and aircraft, replacing all existing medium-range ground-to-air systems.
MBDA says the SAMP/T system is developed to meet medium and long-range air defense needs (force projection, protection of high-value areas and area protection). It can operate in stand alone mode or can be integrated in a co-ordinated network.
The air defense system uses an ASTER two-stage missile, a concept which leads to maximum effectiveness of the interceptor stage. The solid propellant booster ensures the optimum shaping of the missile’s trajectory in the direction of the target and separates a few seconds after the vertical launch. Up to its mid-course, the weapon is inertially guided, using refreshed target data transmitted by the engagement module through the multi-function radar. During the homing phase, guidance is achieved by an electromagnetic active seeker providing a highly accurate capability in all weathers.
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