Espreso. Global

Italy to donate SAMP/T system to Ukraine: it was previously in Slovakia

3 May, 2024 Friday
18:55

Rome's decision to transfer SAMP/T is quite understandable and the only correct reaction to the pro-Russian policy of Prime Minister Robert Fico

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Defense Express reports.

The new aid package from Italy will include another SAMP/T anti-aircraft missile system, which will become the second in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. And while the first one was delivered in the summer of 2023 through the joint efforts of France and Italy, and talks about it had been going on since October 2022, now we are talking about deliveries only from Italy and without long talks.

The new aid package is to be disbursed by June 13, before the G7 meeting in Apulia. The package will also include artillery and ammunition. And, according to La Repubblica, the transfer of SAMP/T became possible because Rome decided to withdraw one of these systems from Slovakia, which became known in March 2024.

Formally, this may not be the same SAMP/T, but it is just one "free" battery, which, as the Italian side noted at the time, "is needed elsewhere." Moreover, this decision is the most appropriate response to the openly pro-Russian policy of Robert Fico, who heads the Slovak government.

Because it is one thing when the previous Slovak government did more than could be expected to support Ukraine. In particular, by transferring S-300 air defense systems and, together with Poland, MiG-29, which is why SAMP/T was deployed in the country. The other is when the new government directly plays into the hands of the Kremlin and only "does not block" commercial defense contracts with Ukraine of private producers.

A few weeks ago, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that active negotiations were underway on just one SAMP/T. But it is worth noting that obtaining them is no different in complexity from obtaining Patriot for Ukraine, because the number of these systems and operator countries is very small. In addition to France and Italy, another operator, besides the Ukrainian Armed Forces, is Singapore, which has only recently brought these anti-aircraft missile systems to full combat readiness.

In total, France had 10 SAMP/T fire units as of 2021, and Italy had 6 fire units. The Italian systems differ from the French ones by having a reduced number of 4 rather than 6 launchers.

Obtaining SAMP/T is extremely important because these systems can fight ballistic missiles and, in addition, destroy enemy aircraft with Aster 30 missiles at long distances of more than 100 km.

But it is worth noting that not everything is perfect with the production of missiles for this air defense system. In particular, France has repeatedly complained that the current production rate of Aster missiles is as much as 40 months, and they want to reduce it to 18 months.

At the beginning of 2023, France and Italy agreed to work together and produce a total of 700 Aster missiles over several years: Aster 15 naval and Aster 30 land-based missiles.

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