The Royal Navy’s new advanced naval air defence system, PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air Missile System), was successfully test fired for the first time on 4th June from the trials barge Longbow at the French DGA’s CELM (Centre d’Essais de Lancement des Missiles ) test range near the Ile du Levant off the French coast.
The successful firing marks a key step in the demonstration of the maturity of the PAAMS(S) system in the lead up to the missile system entering service onboard the Royal Navy’s new Type 45 destroyers.
The trial comprised the firing of a single Aster 30 missile launched against a Mirach target simulating an aircraft, flying at 10km altitude. All aspects of the system behaved as expected with the Aster missile achieving a direct hit on the target at 35km range.
PAAMS is the self, local and fleet area defence system family that will equip the Royal Navy’s new Daring class of Type 45 destroyers as well as the Horizon and Orizzonte frigates of the French and Italian Navies respectively. The Royal Navy’s PAAMS (S) system differs from the PAAMS (E) selected by France and Italy with respect to the Multi Function Radar (MFR). Whereas France and Italy opted for the EMPAR MFR, the very specific requirements of the Royal Navy have resulted in the development of the SAMPSON MFR by BAE Systems INSYTE.
Nick Neale, PAAMS Project Director in the Aster Systems Programme directorate, said: «This successful firing is a huge achievement for the multinational team working on the programme. We now look forward with confidence to completing the remainder of the system qualification programme and to the service entry of the system on board the RN’s new Type 45 destroyers”.
Antoine Bouvier, MBDA’s CEO, said: “This is an important milestone for the Aster missile system family and PAAMS. The system, when it enters service, represents a quantum technological leap in capability terms and in the provision of world class naval air defence systems”.
All the PAAMS (S) system elements have been set to work on the first of class Type 45, HMS Daring and system integration is now in progress. Deliveries of PAAMS equipment to the second Type 45, HMS Dauntless, are complete. The next PAAMS(S) firing trial is planned in the second half of the year with the final system firing trial to take place in 2009.
PAAMS is a 360° omni-directional system providing multi-layer air defence to armed fleets or groups of unarmed support and merchant ships. It incorporates three separate mission capabilities in a single naval air defence system – ship self-defence for protection of the PAAMS warship; local area defence for nearby ship defence; and medium and long-range air defence. PAAMS has been designed to provide optimum protection against omni-directional and co-ordinated attacks from sub- or supersonic missiles, aircraft and high value UAVs.
PAAMS comprises a Multi Function Radar (MFR), a sophisticated Command and Control sub-system (C2), and a dual missile Vertical Launch Sub-system (VLS) containing a combination of forty-eight, ready-to-fire Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles. PAAMS is supported by a Long Range Radar (LRR) for long range surveillance.
Depending on the threat, the combination of the Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles enables the PAAMS system to fire in any configuration from the PAAMS Sylver A50 launcher providing an impenetrable defence envelope day or night, even in cases of extreme electronic countermeasures and in all weather conditions.
The PAAMS (S) system SAMPSON MFR contributes to the area defence around the Type 45 and the accompanying fleet, detecting all types of targets out to a distance of hundreds of kilometers and providing up-link messages to the Aster missiles to neutralise threats to the fleet. The radar is capable of tracking hundreds of targets at any one time and will provide a significant step improvement to the current capability of Royal Navy ships.
With an annual turnover exceeding EUR 3 billion, a forward order book of over EUR 13 billion and over 70 customers worldwide, MBDA is a world leading, global missile systems company. MBDA currently has 45 missile system and countermeasure programmes in operational service and has proven its ability as prime contractor to head major multi-national projects.
MBDA is jointly owned by BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanisa (25%).