PARIS --- The Italian Ministry of Defense has authorized funding for development and acquisition of the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), being developed by MBDA for the United Kingdom, to replace its Aspide / Spada missiles, which are to be retired from 2021.
Italy is interested in the Extended Range version of CAMM, and has earmarked €95 million as its contribution to development costs; the first €5 million will be paid this year, according to a June 6 memorandum signed by Lt. Gen. Francesco Castrataro, director of army procurement at the defense ministry's procurement division, Segredifesa.
In the memorandum, which Defense-Aerospace.com has viewed, the defense ministry explains that “the CAMM-ER missile, whose command and control systems and sensors are being developed, is the most suitable solution to fill the capacity gap” opened by the Aspide’s retirement.
Before opting for CAMM-ER, Italian officials carried out a survey of all similar missiles available on the market. It concluded that several characteristics of the CAMM-ER make it especially suitable the Italian requirements:
-- it is an active guidance missile with a radar seeker allowing all-weather operation;
-- its “soft-launch” firing sequence, where the motor ignites at a sufficient height so that its exhaust does not damage its launcher, which does not require special protection;
-- the missile has an in-flight self-destroy capability managed by its command and control system.
The market survey found that there is no direct competitor in the SHORAD and Medium SAM range segments, as the AMRAAM/NASAMS, VL MICA, ASTER 15 and IRIS-T are not fully compliant with the above requirements.
None of those missiles has “soft-launch” firing; IRIS-T has optical guidance; AMRAAM cannot be destroyed in flight by its C2 system, while Aster 15 and VL MICA cannot reach the required minimum range.
This led Segredifesa to direct, in a May 30 decision memo, the finalisation of the initial efforts to “quickly conclude the final development and qualification of the CAMM-ER active-guidance surface-to-air missile, the development and qualification of its ISO 20 launcher fitted with its own up-link system, and its integration with other missile C2 systems that will be soon operated by the armed forces, including:
-- the Posto Comando Modulo di Ingaggio (Command Post Engagement Module, PCMI) equipped with the X-TAR 3D search radar for the army, and
-- the Medium Advanced Air Defence System (MAADS) for the air force, which will operate with the SIRUS command post and its KRONOS LND search radar.
Finally, the CAMM-ER has been authorised for a direct, single-source procurement without having to go through a competitive bid because there is no other compliant system on the market.
Consequently, the defense ministry is authorized to negotiate the relevant contracts with MBDA Italia, which is the design authority and manufacturer of the CAMM-ER missile.
-- July 5, 2017: Corrected position of Lt. Gen. Francesco Castrataro, who is head of Segredifesa's army procurement division, and not of Segredifesa.
-- deleted "Anglo-French" from description of CAMM in headline