Italy could provide Ukraine with SAMP/T air defense missile system

According to information released on Yahoo News on November 10, 2022, Italy plans to supply new military aid to Ukraine including air defense systems. Italian media reported that Italy could provide one SAMP/T air defense missile system.
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Italian Army - 4th Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment "Peschiera" SAMP/T missile reloading. (Picture source Wikimedia)

For several weeks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has requested European countries and the United States to provide more air defense systems after the recent air attacks by Russian forces on the largest cities of Ukraine using drones and missiles.

In recent days, Russian forces bombarded the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city in the far east of Ukraine, close to the border with Russia. Missile attacks are increasingly concentrated on Kharkiv’s power supply.

Since October 10, Russia has attacked Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with waves of missile and drone attacks. Ukrainian officials have reported that this has left up to 40 percent of the power system damaged, with around 30 percent of the country’s power stations destroyed.

In terms of air defense weapons, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Italy provided STINGER man-portable surface-to-air missile weapons also called MANPADS.

The SAMP/T also nicknamed MAMBA by the French Air Force, is the cornerstone of Italy and France’s contributions to the North Atlantic Alliance tactical ballistic missile defense capability. The French Air Force currently owns 7 MAMBA systems whilst the Italian Army owns 3 systems.

SAMP/T is a theatre antimissile system designed to protect the battlefield and sensitive tactical sites (such as airports and sea ports) against all current and future airborne threats, including cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft, and tactical ballistic missiles in the 600 km range class.

The system comprises a fire control system based on the ARABEL multi-function electronic scanning radar and a Vertical Ground Launcher mounted on Italian Astra/Iveco and French Renault-KERAX 8x8 trucks and capable of firing eight missiles in rapid sequence.

Operational evaluation of the system has been taking place in France and Italy with a series of successful test firings. During the latest firing on November 14th, 2011, a French Air Force MAMBA (SAMP/T) system successfully intercepted a target representative of a ballistic missile. This was the second successful ATBM firing with a SAMP/T system, after the one that took place on October 18th, 2010, on which occasion SAMP/T premiered an all-European anti-ballistic capability.