In the News

In the News

The French Ministry of Defence has launched the Aster Block 1 NT (New Technology) program aimed at modernizing the surface-to-air missile platform/terrain (SAMP/T) ground-based air defence system as well as its associated Aster missile. The French Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) announced the contract to the EUROSAM consortium, which includes MBDA and Thales, on December 23, 2015.

This contract provides for the development of a new version of the Aster 30 Block 1 missile, referred to as Aster B1 NT, with first deliveries to the French Air Force expected in 2023. It also covers the modernization of the current SAMP/T system to provide enhanced capabilities, particularly against ballistic missiles. This evolution will enable SAMP/T to further enhance its contribution towards NATO's anti-ballistic missile defence programme.

France's Aster programme is led by the DGA, with the support of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement), the European intergovernmental organization for joint armament cooperation.

Italy is expected to join France in the Aster B1 NT program in the next few months. Italy's ground-based air defence units are similarly equipped with the SAMP/T system.

For quite some time, the UK, Italy and France have cooperated on ground and naval air defence systems based on the Aster missile. This cooperation was reaffirmed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the three nations on December 11, 2015.