ROME, ITALY — What does Ukraine need most? From air defense, many military tacticians would answer. They would be right. Russia’s missile and drone strikes have been harassing the country’s residents since February 2022 until today.
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A large reinforcement in this area of the Ukrainian defense gives a greater sense of security. So, the news that Italy is ready to provide Ukraine with an air defense system SAMP/T is more than good. Because this anti-aircraft missile system is one of the best in its class.
Preparations for the transfer are currently underway. France, which is also part of the proceedings, must give its consent. Italy has apparently already made a decision, and it looks like France will do the same. It will be positive for Ukraine, says the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.
Package number 6
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Rome has delivered five packages of military aid to Kyiv. The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Antonio Tajani, stated that 1 billion euros of military aid were provided by Italy to Ukraine. Mr. Tajani told Corriere Della Sera reporters that the sixth package included the SAMP/T systems.
“In cooperation with France, we are finalizing the delivery of SAMP/T, and in addition, other actions are planned that we are not disclosing,” the minister said.
Mr. Tajani talked about achieving peace in Europe. But according to his words, he must be fair. The Ukrainian portal mil.in.ua writes that just peace means “restoring the territorial integrity of the country”. This means the withdrawal of Russian armed forces from the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories, including Crimea.
The impressive SAMP/T system
SAMP/T is a medium-range anti-aircraft missile defense system. This is exactly what the acronym in the name of the system means – Sol-Air Moyenne-Portée/Terrestre in French [Surface-to-Air Medium-Range/Land-based].
A complex system of radars and sensors is the “beating heart” of SAMP/T. One battery can deal with several aerial targets simultaneously due to the use of 3D radar. It scans everything – aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, anti-missiles, cruise missiles, or anti-radiation missiles. Weapons used by the Russian armed forces in the last three months in Ukraine.
The possibilities of SAMP/T go further. The system can engage air targets at a higher speed than usual, as well as at a higher altitude. France and Italy have achieved this by integrating an improved version of the Arabel radar. Arabel “hunts” air targets with a range of 600 km.
What does SAMP/T shoot with?
Italy is not saying what missiles it will give Ukraine to effectively use SAMP/T. Aster 15 and Aster 30 are the options. Aster 15 may be chosen as the striking force of the complex. Although it has a shorter range of 30km [the Aster 30 has a 120km range] the Aster 15 uses an onboard Arabel radar – the same as the battery uses.
Both rockets are powered by a solid propellant, two-stage motor. This guarantees a speed of Mach 3 for the Aster 15 and Mach 4.5 for the Aster 30. The Aster 15 and Aster 30 have a 15 kg focused fragmented warhead with a 2 m lethal radius. The detonation mechanism used is a proximity fuse with a calculated delay.
Several countries already operate the SAMP/T and use it as part of their air defense. SAMP/T was developed in two versions – for naval launch and for land launch. Ukraine will get the second option.
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