Sol-Air Moyenne Portée/Terrestre (SAMP/T)


SAMP-tThe Sol-Air Moyenne Portée/Terrestre (SAMP/T) is a ground-based, road-mobile tactical ballistic missile defense system developed by Eurosam, which is co-owned by MBDA France and Italy and Thales Group. SAMP/T provides theater missile defense and can also protect important tactical sites, including airports and ports, from cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft, and tactical ballistic missiles. The French Air Force, which calls the system MAMBA, owns seven batteries and the Italian Army owns three, two of which were deployed to Turkey in 2016 as part of a NATO mission.1

This system provides interoperability with other NATO partners, can work alone or as part of a larger defense architecture, has resistance to counter-measures, and requires 14 personnel to deploy and operate the system. Furthermore, SAMP/T has a very short deployment and withdrawal period and it can be deployed on current NATO tactical transportation aircraft including the Airbus A400M and Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercules.2

The SAMP/T uses Aster 15 and 30 interceptors, which have a range of 30 and 120km respectively. The system includes a command and control center, fire control unit, Arabal radar, and up to six transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles with eight interceptors and a full set of reloads. The Arabal radar, a 3D phased array radar developed by Thales, extends the SAMP/T system’s range and capability. SAMP/T can intercept within a range of 600km and can track up to 100 targets and engage 10 simultaneously.3

Eurosam began full-scale development of the SAMP/T and Aster 30 interceptor in 1990, production in 1997, and testing in 1999. The first whole system trial was in July 2005, and the system successfully acquired, tracked, and intercepted its target.4 SAMP/T has undergone operational testing in France and Italy since May 2008. On October 18, 2010 and November 14, 2011, the SAMP/T employed by the French Air Force successfully intercepted mock ballistic missiles.5

Since June 2016, SAMP/T units have been deployed to southern Turkey, replacing PATRIOT batteries that had been in the region for three years as part of the NATO support to Turkey against possible Syrian missile threats. Two Italian SAMP/T units are deployed as of August 2016, replacing German PATRIOT batteries in Turkey’s Kahramamaras province. The batteries were deployed following a Turkish request to NATO to help reinforce its 900 km long border with Syria.6

    1. “SAMP-T,” Thales Group,
    2. “SAMP/T Aster 30 Mamba Surface-to-air defense missile system,” Army Recognition,
    3. “Aster 30 SAMP/T,” Army Technology,
    4. Ibid.
    5. Thales Group, “SAMP-T.”
    6. Lale Sariibrahimoglu, “Italian SAMP/T unit arrives in Turkey,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, June 9, 2016,