French Air Force Intercepts Israeli Target Missile

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The French Air Force conducted a successful test Nov. 15 of an MBDA Aster 30 surface-to-air interceptor against a Black Sparrow target missile fired from an Israeli Air Force F-15, defense sources said.

“The firing took place,” a French government official said. “It was successful, it was validated.”

The French Air Force operates the Aster 30 weapon on the Sol/Air Moyen Portée/Terre (SAMP/T) system, intended to protect deployed forces against short-range theater ballistic missiles. The firing took place at the Biscarrosse test range run by procurement office Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) in southwest France.

Rafael of Israel makes the Black Sparrow, an air-launched short-range target missile that simulates threats such as the Scud B weapon.

Use of an Israeli F-15 fighter and the target missile was seen as an example of military-to-military cooperation and industrial collaboration between Israel and France.

The product brochure, from Rafael and Raytheon, which have a teaming agreement to sell Black Sparrow to the U.S. military, says the DGA chose the Black Sparrow for tests of the SAMP/T.

After a debut test of the SAMP/T against the Black Sparrow, the French authorities waited more than a month before announcing the successful test results at the NATO Lisbon summit, an industry executive said.

It was at the Lisbon summit last November that France accepted that the alliance should extend the current theater missile defense to a territorial doctrine, under the European Phased Adaptive Approach.

France and Italy have both contributed their SAMP/T batteries to the NATO theater defense system.