France deploys SAMP/T MAMBA air defense missile systems in Romania on eastern flank of Europe

According to a video published by the French Ministry of Defense on May 19, 2022, since May 16, 2022, the French army deployed the SAMP/T nicknamed MAMBA air defense missile system in Romania in the framework of the reinforcement of the deterrence and defense posture of NATO on the eastern flank of Europe.
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France deploys its MAMBA SAMP/T air defense missile system in Romania. (Picture source Screen Shot Video French MoD)

Citing information from the British Parliament, NATO responded to Russia's action in Ukraine in 2014 by establishing a continuous air, land, and maritime presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. These measures are part of its deterrence and defense posture, intended to deter any potential aggression against NATO Allies.

On March 13, 2022, NATO increased readiness and vigilance across Europe to defend and protect all Allies due to the new conflict in Ukraine and the invasion of the country by Russian armed forces.

Since the end of February, France has been deploying forces to Romania as part of the NATO Response Force's (NRF) efforts. France leads this year's highest-readiness element of the NRF; a multinational force comprised of up to 40,000 land, air, maritime and special operations personnel that NATO can deploy at short notice as needed. The French deployment in Romania is bolstering NATO forces in the region. Within a 5-day period, 21 planes transported approximately 350 soldiers and a large number of materials, including armored vehicles. This mission also includes a naval air group, supporting surveillance and air defense system.

The French deployment includes combat units from the 27th Alpine Hunters Battalion (27th BCA), 126th Infantry Regiment (126th RI), and the 4th Hunters Regiment (4th RCH).

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, East countries located near the border of Ukraine and members of NATO have requested increased protection of their airspace. Recently Germany and Netherlands sent Patriot air defense missile systems in Slovakia.

The SAMP/T is the most modern air defense missile system in service with the French armed forces. The SAMP/T is produced by Eurosam, a 50:50 joint venture between MBDA and Thales. Its key components are the Aster 30 missile and Arabel multi-function radar.

The SAMP/T MAMBA system comprises a fire control unit based on the ARABEL multi-function electronic scanning radar, Vertical Ground Launcher truck unit, mounted on French Renault-KERAX 8x8 trucks, engagement module including Mara computer and Magics operator consoles mounted on Kerax truck, a power generator module mounted on Kerax truck, maintenance and repair Kerax truck and missile reloader vehicle.

The SAMP/T MAMBA is used to protect sensitive sites and deployed forces against missile threats (theatre ballistic missile, standoff, cruise missiles, Anti-Radiation Missile) aircraft and drones, replacing all existing medium-range ground-to-air systems.

The MAMBA system is able to track 100 trajectories and engage 10 of them simultaneously, with up to 48 missiles ready to fire. The maximum speed of Aster 30 missiles is 1.4km/sec. It has the capability to intercept targets at altitudes from 50 m to 20 km. The maximum range of the Aster 30 is 100 km. For aircraft targets with altitudes below 3 km, the range of Aster 30 is 50 km.