Italy to provide Ukraine €10 million of aid including air defense missile systems

December 27, 2022, on its Twitter account, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Italy will provide an additional €10 million of aid to Ukraine including air defense systems. Previously, Army Recognition reported that Italy planned to deliver SAMP/T, an air defense missile system produced by the company MBDA.
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Italian Army TEL Transporter Erector Launcher truck of the SAMP/T air defense missile system. (Picture source Leonardo)

On December 28, 2022, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto announced that the Italian Government is busy thinking about the possibility to deliver air defense systems coming from the military inventory of the Italian army. This new delivery of weapons to Ukraine should be made in accordance with the current operational needs of the Italian army, and above all not to weaken the country's defense capabilities.

On December 13, 2022, the French Newspaper "Challenges" published that Paris and Rome accepted Kyiv's request for the SAMP/T Mamba medium-range air defense missile systems manufactured by MBDA and Thales within the Eurosam joint venture. It is Italy that should deliver one of its five systems, according to the French ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins quoted by Challenges. But let us make it clear: at this stage of the discussion, the sending of Mamba system(s) has not yet been officially confirmed.

Today, the Italian armed forces have a total of 20 SAMP/T long-range air defense missile systems which is effective against a wide range of air threats, such as tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, combat aircraft, and unmanned combat air vehicles. It is characterized by a high degree of tactical and strategic mobility as it can be transported by air, land, and rail.

The Aster 30 missile of the SAMP/T air defense system has the capability to intercept aerial targets at altitudes from 50 meters to 15 kilometers. Against aircraft targets, the maximum firing range of the ASTER 30 is 100 kilometers.

A typical SAMP/T battery consists of two command and control vehicles, Arabel surveillance and tracking radar, and up to six launcher stations. The launcher stations could be dispersed to launch sites located up to 10 kilometers from the Arabel radar (via radio link) and up to 1 kilometer via optical fiber cables.

Arabel is an operating in X-Band 3D multifunction radar for surveillance, target tracking, and missile guidance. The radar acquires and tracks the targets. The command system evaluates, prioritizes, and designates the targets. The data on primary and secondary targets is downloaded to the missile launchers and seeker and data link frequency channels are allocated.

The missile is launched and as it turns over in flight toward the target, the target’s position and velocity data are transmitted via the uplink channel at one-second intervals. The system can track up to 100 targets simultaneously and manage the uplink transmission of command update data to 16 missiles simultaneously. The standard Arabel radar operates at 150 kW peak power and has a range of 80 km.