MBDA on target with 2.3 billion Euro missile deal

MBDA has been awarded 2.3 billion Euros by OCCAR for series production of the world’s first advanced ground-based and naval air defence system with an anti-ballistic missile capability.

MBDA has been awarded a multibillion Euro contract by the European procurement agency OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Co-opération en matière d’Armement) for series production of the world’s first advanced ground-based and naval air defence system with an anti-ballistic missile capability.

The 3 billion Euro contract was signed on Wednesday 12th November in Bonn at the OCCAR headquarters by OCCAR President Klaus Wendelin von Sperber and Guido Lami, Managing Director of Eurosam, the joint venture between MBDA and Thales. MBDA’s share of the contract is valued at 2.3 billion Euros.

OCCAR signed the contract on behalf of the French, Italian and UK Ministries of Defence. The order covers series production of 18 SAMP/T Aster Block 1 missile batteries for the French army, French air force and Italian army and production of the Aster 15 SAAM (Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile system) vertical launch naval missile system for the French and Italian navies’ new aircraft carriers and frigates.

The contract also covers 400 million Euros placed by OCCAR on behalf of the UK MoD with MBDA’s subsidiary UKAMS for series production of Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles and support equipment for the PAAMS advanced naval air defence system, which will equip the Royal Navy’s first batch of Type 45 Daring class destroyers.

According to MBDA, the Aster SAMP/T missile system will provide area defence for forces deployed in ‘out of area’ theatres of operation, defending against both manoeuvring and high speed targets such as aircraft, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs), cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles.

Air-transportable and interoperable with NATO air defence systems, SAMP/T will enter service with the French army and air force and Italian army from 2007.In capability terms, Aster PAAMS (Principle Anti-Air Missile System) will provide multi-layer air defence to armed fleets or groups of unarmed support and merchant fleets.

Designed to protect against attacks from sub or supersonic missiles, aircraft and UAVs, PAAMS incorporates three separate mission capabilities in one naval air defence system: ship self-defence for protection of the PAAMS warship; local area defence for nearby ship defence; and medium and long-range fleet protection. PAAMS will equip the French Horizon class frigates, the Italian Orizzonte class frigates and the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers from 2006.

‘Europe’s armed forces today need a highly mobile and interoperable extended air defence capability to provide area protection for forces deployed out-of-area as part of the overall force projection mix,’ said Guy Griffiths, MBDA’s Chief Operating Officer (Operations). ‘The commonality between both land-based and naval Aster anti-missile systems further adds to the effectiveness of the out-of-area force mix.’