On 20 September 2010, with a ceremony chaired by the FR Air Force Command CoS (GCA Hugues HENDEL), the first SAMP/T section, baptized “MAMBA” by FR Air Force, was definitively put on duty. After completion of all the preparatory activities as personnel training, unit preparation/adaptation, initial in-servicing, the first SAMP/T section has been assigned to the air base 116 at Luxeuil-Saint Sauveur (East of France). This is the first of the 5 FR AF units planned to be equipped with the SAMP/T system. In the next future it is expected that the unit will participate to national and international exercises in order to be certificated “ready for operations”. The delivery of the first SAMP/T section to Italian Army is ongoing and the ATOC B1 (ATBM) campaign, which will culminate in a joint France/Italy ripple firing against a TBM target, is planned in 2012
During the first week of August the Grizzlies reached 500 flying hours, comprising almost 150 flights since the first flight of MSN (Manufacturer’s Serial Number) 001 past 11 December 2009. MSN001 flew 80 times, MSN002 flew 56 and MSN003, with the first flight being held past 09 July, already flew 11 times. During this time, the Grizzlies have participated with great success in the Berlin ILA Show (MSN001) and in Farnborough International Airshow (MSN002) where a formal naming ceremony was also held. The three first prototypes are in flight, with the forth aircraft being assembled in Seville, planning for its first flight at the end of the year. The plan includes five prototypes for test activities. Two crews from Nations have already participated in test flights.
A specific firing campaign, consisting of two single firings from IT and FR HORIZON class ships and of one salvo firing from a UK Navy platform have just been successfully completed in a very short timeframe (one month - May/June 2010). This more than positive event will re-launch the ammunition production which was suspended following some technical issues experienced in 2009, in the frame of the PAAMS qualification trials.