Missile launching tests: main stakes for DGA/SPNuM
Live firings always constitute major milestones in the life of the programs, as well during the development as during the qualification or the operational life of the systems.
On Tuesday June 28th, 2005, the “Délégation générale pour l’armement” (DGA) carried out a propelled firing of the AASM (modular air-to-ground armament) from a Mirage 2000 aircraft. The AASM was followed through its flight phase by the means of CELM, the DGA missile test centre in Biscarosse.
The AASM (armement air-sol modulaire; modular air-to-ground weapon), developed by Sagem, is based on the guidance of a 250 kg aircraft-launched conventional bomb. Its range is up to several tens of kilometres, its precision is decametric or metric. The AASM decametric version is fitted with inertial and GPS navigation; it will be delivered to the armed forces in 2006 and give to the Rafale aircraft an all-weather air-to-ground capability. The AASM metric version is equipped moreover with an infrared imager which improves the precision through terminal guidance; it will be delivered to the forces in 2008.
The June 28th firing was the last one of a trial campaign started on September 6th, 2004, the goal of which was to validate in flight the main performances of the AASM decametric version. The next campaigns top priority is to validate the integration of the armament for the Rafale aircraft.
Almost a month later, on July 26th, 2005 and still in Biscarrosse site, DGA carried out the first qualification firing of SAMP/T (medium range surface-to-air) missile system, with an Aster 30 missile.
All the objectives of this firing were met. SAMP/T system was deployed according to an operational configuration (fire control system modules located several kilometres away from the launching module). The C22 target, simulating a conventional air threat at an average altitude, was detected then engaged by the fire control system. It was then intercepted in accordance as foreseen by the Aster 30 missile, that was fired from the ground launcher.
This success represents a major step for the qualification of the SAMP/T system, ground component of FSAF programme (famille sol-air future; Future Surface-to-Air Family) which is undertaken within a French-Italian co-operation, and entrusted to the OCCAR in 2001. SAMP/T system, 18 of which are ordered by the OCCAR (12 for France, 6 for Italy), will enter in service at the end of 2008 ; it will be the first European system equipped with the capacity of interception of Scud-type theatre ballistic missiles.
The confirmation of the new Aster 30 missile capability is also a major step for PAAMS programme (Main Anti-Air System Missile). This system combines the Aster 15 & 30 missiles, associated with an Empar fire control system for the Franco-Italian Horizon frigate (Sampson fire control system for the British T45 destroyer) and a long range radar.
After the first successful Aster 30 shooting carried out on last June 1st in CELM facilities from a naval launcher, the new success of the July 26th shooting is opening the way for the next qualification shootings and SAMP/T system technical & operational evaluation following them, as for those planned for the PAAMS.
SAAM (système d’auto-défense anti-missile; anti-missile self-defence missile) version, with Aster 15 deployed on Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier since the end of 2001, has confirmed its operational availability, by succeeding, in the United States on May 25th , the firing of two Aster 15 missiles by the Marine Nationale (French Navy) within the framework of a combined exercise.
These major successes have devoted the team work realised for several months between all the companies engaged in these programmes. They have also enlightened and rewarded the mobilisation of the official directions of programmes and the whole expertise, evaluation and tests competencies of DGA centres.
Head of DGA/SPNuM