Franco-Italian consortium Eurosam has signed a contract to develop the next-generation Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain (SAMP/T) air defence system (ADS) for France and Italy.

The contract has been signed with the European Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) in the presence of French Air and Space Force (FASF) staff, the Italian Army staff, and OCCAR representatives of the French DGA and the Italian SGD.

Eurosam consortium comprises three shareholders, namely MBDA France, MBDA Italy and Thales.

The latest contract is a complementary addition to the first contract signed in 2016 that was aimed at enhancing the SAMP/T systems operational in the FASF and the Italian Army.

It will see the delivery of improvements to the SAMP/T system such as an enhanced missile to enlarge the ASTER family, the ASTER Block 1 new technology (NT) with a new seeker and computer to ‘face the new emerging threats’.

Furthermore, an upgraded launcher comprising new electronic equipment and a multifunction rotating active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar will be provided.

A command and control module based on ‘upgraded open command and control software architecture’ and improved connectivity will also be delivered.

These enhanced capabilities of SAMP/T NG will enable France and Italy, and any other potential customer, to ‘guarantee airspace sovereignty’.

These capabilities will also enable countries to safeguard their territory and protect their operational troops.

Designed to carry out ground-based air defence (GBAD) missions with improved capabilities, the SAMP/T NG is a long-range ‘surface-to-air’ missile defence system.

It can operate in a ‘dense civilian air environment’, in partnership with ‘friendly military aircraft and fully integrated into air defence networks’ and provides 360° protection to armed forces.

The SAMP/T NG system also offers dual capability to defeat targets of any combination and types.