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

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The 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. It entered service in Italy and France in 2011.

SAMP/T Development

France and Italy jointly launched development of the SAMP/T and Aster missile family in 1988.1 The SAMP/T was designed to replace older I-Hawk and Crotale air defenses and satisfy modern ground-based area defense requirements. Eurosam, a joint venture of MBDA and Thales, initiated full-scale development in 1990, production in 1997, and testing in 1999. The first whole system trial took place in July 2005, in which the system successfully acquired, tracked, and intercepted its target.2 The “Aster” missile is named after the Greek word for “Star”. It is also known as the “Future Surface-to-Air Family” (FSAF).

SAMP/T has undergone operational testing in France and Italy since May 2008. In October 2010, the SAMP/T successfully intercepted a mock ballistic missile target. The French Air Force conducted a second successful intercept test in November 2011.3 It first entered service in Italy and France in 2011.4

In March 2013, France and Italy successfully tested the SAMP/T operating under NATO air defense architecture.5

In March 2021, France and Italy announced their planned development of an upgraded variant, designated SAMP/T NG.6


The system includes a command and control center, fire control unit, Arabel radar, and up to six transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles with eight interceptors and a full set of reloads. The Arabel radar is a 3D phased array radar developed by Thales that rotates to provide 360 degree coverage. The SAMP/T can track up to 100 targets and engage 10 simultaneously.7

The SAMP/T’s Aster 15 and 30 can range 30 and 120 km, respectively. Both interceptors are two-stage, solid-fueled rockets. The Aster 30 measures 4.9 m in length, 0.18 m in diameter, and weighs 450 kg at launch. It can fly at up to Mach 4.5 and an altitude of 20 km.8 In 2016, Eurosam began developing an extended range variant designated Aster 30 Block 1 NT Extended Capability.9 The upgraded missile features a new seeker operating in Ka band, instead of the Ku band seekers previously in operation.

The SAMP/T provides interoperability with other NATO partners. It requires only 14 personnel to deploy and operate one battery, and features a very short deployment and withdrawal period.10 It can be transported via NATO tactical transportation aircraft including the Airbus A400M and Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercules.11

Service History

The French Air Force, which calls the system MAMBA, operates at least seven batteries and the Italian Army operates at least three.12

In June 2016, an Italian SAMP/T unit was deployed to southern Turkey, replacing German Patriot batteries that had been in the region for three years as part of the NATO support to Turkey against possible Syrian missile threats. The SAMP/T was deployed following a Turkish request to NATO to help reinforce its 900 km long border with Syria.13

In 2017, the Singapore Air Force took delivery of the SAMP/T and 100 Aster 30 missiles.14 The Air Force posted a video showing the air defense system on social media in March 2018.15

The Aster missile has also been exported widely outside of the SAMP/T configuration. At least 11 countries operate the missile.16


    1. MBDA, “France and Italy Join Together to Develop Aster 30 Block 1 NT,” Press Release, June 14, 2016, PDF from
    2. Thales Group, “SAMP-T.”
    3. Thales Group, “SAMP-T.”
    4. Eurosam, “Eurosam SAMP/T systems with ASTER missiles,” YouTube, December 28, 2020,
    5. MBDA, “Another first for the SAMP/T system,” Press Release, March 7, 2013, PDF from
    6. Christina Mackenzie, “France, Italy update their joint air-defense weapon for faster missiles,” Defense News, March 24, 2021,
    7. “Aster 30 SAMP/T,” Army Technology,
    8. MBDA, “ASTER 30-SAMP/T,” visited on July 14, 2021,
    9. Christina Mackenzie, “France, Italy update their joint air-defense weapon for faster missiles,” Defense News, March 24, 2021,
    10. Sebastien Roblin, “Europe Has Its Very Own Missile Defense System,” The National Interest, September 21, 2019,
    11. “SAMP/T,” Eurosam, achieved November 13, 2012,; “SAMP/T Aster 30 Mamba Surface-to-air defense missile system,” Army Recognition,
    12. “SAMP-T,” Thales Group,
    13. Lale Sariibrahimoglu, “Italian SAMP/T unit arrives in Turkey,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, June 9, 2016,
    14. Mike Yeo, “Singapore confirms delivery of Aster 30 missile with video post,” Defense News, March 29, 2018,
    15. Ibid.
    16. MBDA, “France and Italy Join Together to Develop Aster 30 Block 1 NT,” Press Release, June 14, 2016, PDF from
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Missile Defense Project, "Sol-Air Moyenne Portée/Terrestre (SAMP/T)," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 15, 2016, last modified July 15, 2021,