France, Italy Order 700 Aster Air Defense Missiles for $2 Billion

France and Italy have jointly contracted Eurosam to deliver Aster air defense missiles for 2 billion euros ($2.18 billion).

The countries signed the contract through the Joint Armaments Cooperation Organization for the French Air Force, French Navy, Italian Army, Italian Navy, and Italian Air Force.

Eurosam is a consortium of MBDA France, MBDA Italy, and Thales.

Missiles for Five Forces

The contract covers the delivery of 700 Aster missiles, including Aster 30 B1 New Technology (NT), Aster 30 B1, Aster 30 B, and Aster 15 medium-range missiles.

The faster and more maneuverable NT will arm the SAMP/T NG air defense systems of the French Air Force, Italian Army, Italian Air Force, and the Italian Navy’s Horizon frigates.

The Aster 30 and Aster 15 will be procured for the French and Italian navies, and the Aster 30 B1 for the Italian Air Force.

Missile Mid-Life Upgrade Contract

“This is one of the largest orders for this anti-aircraft missile, the only European system offering such operational capabilities” against air threats (planes and missiles),” a French Ministry of the Armed Forces press release said.

“This new investment by the two nations is a continuation of the joint effort made in 2021 to modernize their medium-range land-based anti-aircraft defense systems with the launch of the SAMPT NG program in order to cope with the evolution of the threat.”

In addition, a contract was signed to provide a mid-life upgrade to the current Aster stockpile of France, Italy, and the UK.

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