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FSAF and munitions for the PAAMS


The Next Generation of Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile Systems


Famille des systèmes Surface-Air Futurs – Famiglia dei sistemi Superficie-Aria Futuri. On the 26th October 1988, French and Italian Defence Ministers signed the Memorandum of Understanding of a bilateral cooperation for the development of a surface to air anti missile system family – FSAF.

Phase 1 (Feasibility) of the programme is now complete. Phase 2 (Development) is nearing completion. Phase 3 (Production, firing section deliveries to the customer) continues and Phase 4 (In service support) is ongoing in accordance with the 2012 awarded contract.

PAAMS Munitions

Principal Anti Air Missile Systems are new weapon systems based on common elements developed in the frame of the FSAF programme. The weapon system capability provides agile, rapid reaction “self defence", "local and "naval area" defence Maritime capabilities for: the FR/IT Horizon frigate and the UK Type 45 destroyer. OCCAR manages the munition procurement programme for the Land and Maritime systems on behalf of the Participating States to achieve greater, cost effective economies of scale.


The project covers the production of CAMM-ER* equipped Ground Based Air Defence Systems Grifo, for the Italian Army, and MAADS (Medium Advanced Air Defence System) for the Italian Air Force. The two CAMM-ER based systems are currently in an advanced state of development, including the missile, within the context of a national contract and will represent the Italian solution for SHOrt Range Air Defence (SHORAD).

The CAMM-ER production contract was signed on 28th November 2022 and it is managed by the OCCAR FSAF-PAAMS Programme Division by means of a dedicated CAMM-ER Section detached to the OCCAR site Rome.

The contract includes production activities, but also development, evolutions studies and the initial In-Service Support for the Italian Army and Air Force systems.

* Common Anti-air Modular Missile Extended Range

FSAF - PAAMS Participating States

SAAM-FR Technical Information

The French Navy variant of the SAAM system, the SAAM-FR, has been installed on board the French Aircraft Carrier "Charles de Gaulle" to ensure its self-defence.

SAAM-FR is based on the Aster 15N (N for Navalised).

The Fire Control System is based on the Arabel X Band Multifunctional Radar and is in communication with the Combat Management System of the Carrier (Senit VIII System).

The Arabel Radar is at the top of dedicated mast and a Sylver launcher has been installed in a place specially prepared for it.

The installation of the first of class SAAM-FR system on board of the Charles de Gaulle was carried out in 1999.

Charles de Gaulle


Aster is a two-stage missile composed of the body of the missile itself and a booster. The difference between Aster 15 and 30 is only a difference of the booster. For the Aster 30, the booster provides a longer impulse giving the missile the possibility to reach targets at longer ranges. Aster 30 is used for local area defence interceptions when Aster 15 is used for self defence interceptions.


As detailed in the figure beside, the Aster terminal dart integrates an active seeker, a cruise motor, an up link transmitter to receive the position of the target before the seeker can detect it and a warhead. But the most important aspect of Aster is the "PIF" (pilotage en force) system. Aster is the only missile in the world to use such a system that provides very high interception performances even against high manoeuvrable targets, such as sea skimmer missiles.


The PIF system is composed of four lateral thrusters that, on request, creates a lateral force in any direction that allows Aster to get closer to its target without high acceleration manoeuvres and decreases the reaction time necessary.

Another characteristic of this missile is its vertical launch. When firing, after it exits the Sylver vertical system, the fire control radar, Arabel or Empar, provides Aster with data to allow it to calculate its trajectory toward the target, and changes direction by commanding booster exhausts positions.

Then after the booster has given enough impulse to the terminal dart, the booster is separated and of the cruise propeller of the terminal dart is initiated.

Finally, when Aster has sufficiently approached the target being guided by the system radar, it switches on its seeker that provides an active seeking terminal guidance toward the target that Aster reaches with extremely high precision using its PIF system.



When FSAF co-operation started in 1989, ARABEL was chosen to be the fire control radar for both SAAM-FR and SAMP-T system.


The naval variant has been first installed on board the French Navy Ship "Ile d'Oléron". A second radar was also installed on board French Aircraft Carrier "Charles de Gaulle".

The terrestrial variant of ARABEL has been integrated in the Fire control system of SAMP-T.

Arabel is a multifunctional radar operating in X Band. It has a high performance 2D Electronic Scan Antenna and assume detection and tracking of targets.

It is also responsible, when a missile is fired, for transmitting via the Up-Link transmitter, messages to the missile to renew missile data in order to allow Aster to calculate a trajectory toward the designated target and before Aster can detect it and lock on it with its own seeker



The FSAF Vertical launch system, called SYLVER -SYstème de Lancement VERtical-, contains eight Aster missiles.

Two variants have been created, one for naval FSAF systems SAAM-IT and SAAM-FR and another one for terrestrial system SAMP-T.

When the Aster 30 missile was designed, SYLVER was adapted to be able to launch this new missile variant and is part of the SAMP-T and the PAAMS systems. 


It is composed of eight cylinders that are filled with Aster canisters containing the missiles itself. At its top, eight traps are automatically opened one by one when a missile is fired. At its bottom, a gaz exaust system expulses toxic gas comming from missile booster at its launch.


SAAM-IT- Sistema Anti-Air Missile-Italia

Surface-to-Air Missile System for the Italian Navy

The Italian Navy has chosen the FSAF System to ensure the self defence of the Italian Navy aircraft carrier "Cavour" in the similar way as France has done with the Charles de Gaulle carrier.

Like the other FSAF systems, SAAM-IT is based on Aster 15N (N for Navalised) missile, but integrates a new radar, EMPAR, designed and built by Alenia Marconi Systems (now Selex).

A replica SAAM IT system is installed at the Italian Naval Training Centre (Maricentadd) since 2003 and provides a reference for testing and qualification purposes.


Today, SAAM-IT phase 1, has been installed on board the Italian Navy trial ship "Carabiniere" based at La Spezia Naval Station. 
EMPAR antenna has been mounted at the top of a mast placed at the rear of the ship.

Vertical launcher-Sylver- installation has been successfully carried out at La Spezia. The first qualification firings will take place at CEM French Mediteranean test range.

Another Fire Control System EMPAR-FSAF is under going trials at the Constructor Site of Pratica di Mare, at 50 km south of Rome.

This site will be used for retrofitting the SAAM-IT FCS from phase 1 to phase 2 standard. The upgrade consists in integrating new ECCM capabilities, a more powerful calculator in EMPAR , an evolution of AGIS (Command and Control system of SAAM-IT).

Pratica di Mare FCS will be the contractor site for testing PAAMS FCS Empar variant that shares the same Hardware components.

SAMP/T - Sol-Air Moyenne Portée Terrestre

Ground-to-Air Medium Range Missile System



Chosen by the French Air force and Italian Armies, SAMP-T provides a local defence capability protecting important tactical areas.

It is composed of a series of launcher modules installed on board mobile platforms that operates centrally and comprises of an Arabel radar to ensure detection, tracking of targets and initial guidance of Aster Missiles.

SAMP/T is the first system to use the Aster 30T (T for Terrestrial) missile for the medium range interception. In the future, the PAAMS system will also use a navalised Aster 30, called Aster 30N to carry out its mission of local defence area.



PAAMS - Principal Anti-Air Missile System

French Navy First of Class, Forbin

The Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) will equip the new Type 45 Destroyer in its prime role of Anti-Air Warfare (AAW): protecting UK national and allied/coalition forces against enemy aircraft and missiles.

The PAAMS air defence missiles are the size of a public phone box, weigh two thirds as much as a small car and from launch accelerate to a speed twice that of Concorde in under 10 seconds. The missiles' flight manoeuvres as it locks onto a target are so severe they are 10 times more severe than a human could withstand. The system is designed to deal with multiple attacks by anti-ship missiles.


PAAMS is a 360 degree omni-directional system providing multi-layer air defence to armed fleets or groups of unarmed support and merchant ships. It includes three separate missions in a single naval air-defence system:

  1. Ship self defence for protection of the PAAMS warship
  2. Naval area defence for protection of nearby ships
  3. Fleet protection at medium and long range

PAAMS defeats all forms of threat from sea skimming anti-ship missiles, cruise missiles, diving anti-radar missiles and fighter aircraft, to saturating and omni-directional attacks in an electronic warfare environment.

The system comprises:

  • A long-range surveillance radar
  • A fire control system based on a multifunction electronic scanning radar
  • Dual-missile vertical launchers, each containing eight ready-to-fire missiles
  • ASTER 15 and 30 missiles


CAMM-ER is an active Surface-to-Air missile equipped with a Soft Vertical Launch (SVL) with a turn-over system and a single stage dual-boost rocket engine. The SVL system ejects the missile from its canister by a gas generator, the missile then turns itself towards the threat by use of lateral actuators before igniting the engine.

The ammunition is effective against Air Breathing Threats (ABT), fighter and attack aircrafts, bombers, helicopters, cruise and anti-radiation missiles.

For the Italian Army, Grifo will provide a SHORAD system equipped with the Rheinmetall X-TAR 3D multifunctional X-band radar (installed in the Posto Comando Modulo Ingaggio - PCMI – system) and CAMM-ER launchers, all mounted on tactical vehicles for high mobility in and out of non-prepared terrains. It has been chosen by the Italian Army to replace the Skyguard/Aspide system.

For the Italian Air Force, MAADS will provide a SHORAD system equipped with the Kronos LND multifunctional 3D AESA C-band radar (installed in the SIRIUS Detection Centre) and CAMM-ER launchers, all mounted on tactical vehicles for high mobility. It has been chosen by the Italian Air Force for the replacement of the SPADA/Aspide system.

For further information about the FSAF PAAMS Programme, please contact the Programme Division or the Prime Contractor.
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OCCAR-EA FSAF - PAAMS Programme Division



Centre d’affaires de La Boursidière Bâtiment Kerguelen
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