Turkey signs onto Eurosam Aster 30-based SAMP/T program
November 29, 2023
Photo credit: Thales

Turkey signs onto Eurosam Aster 30-based SAMP/T program

Turkey has signed a “cooperation agreement” with the French-Italian air defence consortium Eurosam, ostensibly for Eurosam’s Aster 30-based SAMP/T (short for Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain) long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.

Turkey’s Minister of Defence announced the agreement at the French embassy’s Bastille Day reception in Ankara on Friday, July 14 (via Daily Sabah).

Ankara had been negotiating with Eurosam for the SAMP/T since September with the aim of ushering a two-stage program: First, to import Aster 30 SAM systems to strengthen Turkey’s integrated air defence system (IADS). Second, to accrue technology from Eurosam and co-produce the Aster-30.

Defence Aerospace’s sources report that the agreement involves a “24-month definition phase funded by the Turkish government … [which] will immediate lead to the full-scale development phase … [for] late 2019 or early 2020 at the latest.” It adds that the SAMP/T is being sought in parallel to the S-400.

The centrepiece of the SAMP/T is the Aster 30, which was introduced in 1988. It has a range of more than 100 km and is deployable from land and from surface warships.

In 2016, Eurosam initiated the Aster 30 Block 1 New Technology (B1NT) program, which is tipped with a Ka-band active radar-homing seeker, which offers longer terminal-stage engagement range and enhanced angular resolution. Eurosam is positioning the B1NT for neutralizing anti-ship ballistic missiles.

Eurosam was competing with the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS), a consortium made up of U.S., German and Italian companies. The core the MEADS is the PAC-3 MSE (Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement).

Notes & Comments:

Although these are big-ticket off-the-shelf acquisitions, the Turkish Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM) stated on several occasions that Turkey will have a homegrown long-range SAM system.

It is not known what impact the SAMP/T and S-400 will have on the Turkish SAM program, but the program seems to be of importance to the Turkish government. Turkey’s future anti-air warfare (AAW) frigate, the TF-2000, is also envisaged to use a domestic long-range SAM system.

Although speculation, it is possible that the co-production elements of the SAMP/T and/or S-400 could accompany targeted technical support for the Turkish SAM program.