SAMP/T Mamba air defense system possibly delivered to Ukraine soon

The discussions on the request formulated by the Ukrainians to get ‘’sophisticated’’ air defense systems as a parade against the numerous attacks from Russian missiles and drones (including Iranian-made ones) might see two conclusions: the delivery of SAMP/T Mamba batteries by France and/or Italy, and of a Patriot battery by the U.S., a possibility not yet accepted but strongly sought by many, even if Russia has already warned that such batteries would be ''legitimate targets' (aren't the other systems already targeted?).
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ASTER 30 SAMP/T is a two-stage missile, a concept that leads to the maximum effectiveness of the interceptor stage (Picture source: MBDA)

According to the French 'Challenges' newspaper, Paris and Rome accepted Kyiv's request for the SAMP/T Mamba medium-range air defense systems designed 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.

The last difficulties which prevented the delivery of the Franco-Italian SAMP/T Mamba to Ukraine seem to have been resolved, 'Challenges' writes. According to the hearing of the French ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins, which dates from November 9 but whose report was not published until December 13, all the lights are now green for the sending of this system. "France and Italy will provide Ukraine with the anti-aircraft defense instruments it requests, indicates Etienne de Poncins. It is a very strong request that President Zelensky made and the Italians confirmed to us that they were ready to grant it. So we can meet their needs."

The scenario of a SAMP/T delivery had already been mentioned by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in an interview with Le Monde on December 9, 'Challenges' recalls: "We are asking for SAMP / T and the Franco-Italian Mamba system, he explained (without apparently noticing that SAMP/T and Mamba mean the same system, Mamba being the French nickname of SAMP/T). The French side reacted positively to our request, but the negotiation is not over with the Italian side." It, therefore, seems that this last obstacle has been overcome. Hence, it appears that the SAMP/T will join the air defense systems already delivered to Ukraine: the German IRIS-T, the Norwegian NASAMS (delivered by the United States), the Italian Aspide (delivered by Spain) or even the Mistral and French Crotale NG.

ASTER 30 SAMP/T protects sensitive sites and deployed forces against missile threats (TBM, stand-off, cruise missiles, ARM) and aircraft, replacing all existing medium-range ground-to-air systems. The ASTER 30 SAMP/T system is designed to meet medium and long-range air defense needs (force projection, protection of high-value areas and area protection). It can operate in stand-alone mode or can be integrated into a co-ordinated network.

ASTER is a two-stage missile, a concept that leads to the maximum effectiveness of the interceptor stage. The solid propellant booster ensures the optimum shaping of the missile’s trajectory in the direction of the target and separates a few seconds after the vertical launch. Up to its mid-course, the weapon is inertially guided, using refreshed target data transmitted by the engagement module through the multi-function radar. During the homing phase, guidance is achieved by an electromagnetic active seeker providing a highly accurate capability in all weathers.