Is Italy Ready for the Unexpected? Strengthening Aerial Defense Capabilities

The Italian Army is set to strengthen its aerial abilities with four more SAMP/T NG systems. This move marks a significant shift to modernize their capabilities against increasingly complex threats.

Currently, the Army's anti-aircraft arsenal includes only MISTRAL, a lightweight anti-aircraft portable missile. This follows the withdrawal of short-range Roland air-defense missiles and 20mm type 53T2 cannons.

In contrast to , the Italian staff's strategy was different. They allocated the five Mamba systems they received to the 4th anti-aircraft artillery regiment “Peschiera.” Moreover, an order was recently placed through the Joint Armament Cooperation Organization [OCCAr] to equip the Aeronautica Militare with five systems, amounting to approximately 700 million euros. The objective is to replace the 12 SPADA 2000 systems of the 2nd squadron “Caccia.”

The need for enhanced protection against aerial threats became more apparent during the Ukraine conflict. This prompted to add an amendment to the SAMP/T contract notified to OCCAr. The amendment facilitates the production of four next-generation Mamba systems for the Italian Army.

Details of SAMP/T systems

Originally, the Italian Army had four SAMP/T systems. However, this is no longer the case since Italy and France have joined forces to deliver a battery to Ukraine. A typical SAMP/T system is made up of five to ten elements. Key components include an engagement module, an X-band radar with a friend/foe identification system, an electricity generator, a ground reloading module, and one to six launch modules. Each launch module can fire up to eight Aster 30 interceptor missiles.

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The global context highlights the necessity of up-to-date air defense systems to tackle increasingly sophisticated threats, as emphasized by OCCAr.

Differences between Italian and French SAMP/T NG

Notably, the SAMP/T NG systems used by Italy and France slightly differ. The Air & Space Army utilizes Thales' Ground Fire 300 radar, whereas Italy opts for Leonardo's Kronos GM HP. However, according to OCCAr, both systems offer “increased performances in terms of detection, tracking, and target destruction,” complete with an engagement module to counter saturating missile attacks.

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