DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The European consortium of Thales and MBDA unveiled its new long-range, ground-based air defense system, SAMP/T NG, the updated variant of the SAMP/T already in service with the Italian Army and the French Air and Space Force.

“The ground-based air defense system has undergone verification, qualificatio,n and launched production in 2021, and is expected to be delivered by 2025 to the first contractor: France and Italy,” Eva Bruxmeier, Eurosam’s managing director, told reporters at the Dubai Airshow, which is taking place Nov. 14-18.

SAMP/T NG was designed to protect armed forces and sensitive civil or military sites. The system has a 150-kilometer interception range and a 350-kilometer detection range, and it features a 360-degree multifunctional radar fitted with a rotating active electronically scanned array antenna based on gallium nitride technology — either the Kronos Grand Mobile radar by Leonardo, which Italy chose, or the Ground Fire 300 radar by Thales, which France chose.

“The multi-function radar is able to encamp in less than 15 minutes with only 2 operators. It complies with high mobility requirements either on civilian road, rail infrastructure, in aircraft due to its 20 feet ISO container standard size,” according to a Eurosam statement.

The system can launch the upgraded Aster 30 Block 1 surface-to-air missile to counter threats at short and long ranges. An electromagnetic active seeker was added to the original version of the Aster weapon to increase its accuracy in all weather conditions.

The air defense system can have up to six vertical launchers, and imagery of the weapon from the manufacturer shows each launcher has eight cells. A team of four people is needed to manage the system’s sensors and networks.

Eurosam hopes to eventually export the SAMP/T NG to customers outside of Europe. “The licenses for the whole system are issued by France, since Eurosam is registered there,” Bruxmeier told Defense News.

Agnes Helou is a Middle East correspondent for Defense News. Her interests include missile defense, cybersecurity, the interoperability of weapons systems and strategic issues in the Middle East and Gulf region.

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