Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is returning from Brussels with news that could provide the Turkish defense with increased combat capability in terms of protection against supersonic anti-ship missiles and high-performance aircraft. France, Italy, and Turkey are beginning to “revive” relations over Ankara’s acquisition of the SAMP / T system, jointly developed between the two Western European countries.
BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that in 2018 Turkey wanted to acquire this anti-aircraft missile system. The idea was for Turkish companies Aselsan and Roketsan, which are proven manufacturers of all types of missiles, to take part in the form of industrial cooperation in the deal between the three countries. The two companies were about to sign a cooperation agreement with Eurosam, a manufacturer of SAMP / T, but the signing was suspended due to “France’s political position”, writes Daily Sabah.
Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister, also confirmed the positive outcome of the tripartite meeting, stressing that the SAMP / T issue deserves a separate meeting and will be held soon. “The meeting we had with Erdoğan went well,” he said while commenting on the meetings held on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
The importance of SAMP / T for Turkey
Turkey is in no way abandoning Russia’s S-400 air defense system, which it has acquired and has led the United States to impose economic sanctions on the Balkans, halt sales of planned F-16s, and oust Turkey from the F-35. Erdogan reaffirmed that Ankara has no plans to send S-400s to Ukraine to support Ukrainians’ air defenses.
However, SAMP / T is a separate project and does not in any way concern the availability or use of the S-400. Initially, the idea was for the three countries to build a strong anti-aircraft missile system against “invisible” aircraft [stealth], drones, and missiles.
Not only would Turkey create new jobs, but participation in the SAMP / T program at the local level opened up much greater opportunities for a permanent partnership in this area, which included the in-depth involvement of Aselsan and Roketsan. Ankara also saw an opportunity for exports – Turkey continues to play a major role in international arms markets.
SAMP / T
SAMP / T is an anti-aircraft missile system jointly developed by Italy and France through Eurosam and with the participation of BAE Systems, MBDA France, MBDA Italy, Airbus, Leonardo, and Thales.
The system is designed to launch two types of missiles: Aster 15 and Aster 30, which have different mass, size and can carry different payloads [warhead or charge] depending on their purpose.
The operational range of the Aster 15 missile is over 30 km, while the Aster 30 is over 120 km. Both missiles reach a height of between 13 and 20 km. Aster 15 flies at a speed of Mach3, while the Aster 30 reaches a maximum speed of 4.5 Mach.
The missiles can be launched from a maritime or ground platform and have an integrated active RF seeker. Each rocket is powered by a solid-propellant two-stage rocket engine.
New versions of Aster missiles are currently being developed, such as the Aster 30 Block 1NT [New Technology] – a further anti-ballistic missile intercept upgrade against a 1,500 km [930 mi] medium-range ballistic missiles [MRBMs]. or Aster 30 Block 2 BMD – developed for anti-ballistic defense against 3,000 km [1,900 mi] -range maneuvering missiles.