#

​One SAMP-T as Difficult to Get as Two Patriots: Ukraine Negotiates Transfer

2049
SAMP/T air defense system, known in the French military as MAMBA / Illustrative photo credit: Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace
SAMP/T air defense system, known in the French military as MAMBA / Illustrative photo credit: Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace

Despite the West having up to 100 Patriot air defense systems in service, only 30 of them are in Europe, and the situation with SAMP/T is even more complex

Ukraine's diplomatic effort has been focused on acquiring air defenses for the country to protect against russian missile strikes. Although the need for advanced anti-missile systems is estimated at 7 to 25 fire units, currently, the negotiations are concerning only two Patriots and one SAMP/T surface-to-air missile systems, said Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba.

Overall, the European segment of NATO has about 30 Patriot batteries in operation (and 5 more planned for deployment), and therefore it's problematic for Europe to hand over 23% to 83% of the entire fleet. On the other hand, two more Patriots can be assembled from components provided by different donors, like when the Netherlands sent additional launchers to the German-donated battery. This scenario looks much more realistic, especially considering the US still hasn't unblocked military aid to Ukraine.

Read more: ​Germany "Immediately" Sends Patriot to Ukraine – Pistorius
Main components of the Patriot system / Defense Express / One SAMP-T as Difficult to Get as Two Patriots: Ukraine Negotiates Transfer
Main components of the Patriot system: launcher in the front and the radar in the background / Illustrative photo credit: Sgt. Alexandra Shea, U.S. Army

In this situation, the minister mentioning negotiations regarding another SAMP/T is extremely interesting, since the SAM in question is the one that Ukraine has gotten only once, from France and Italy. Kyiv had pushed for this provision SAMP/T since October 2022, until the system's official arrival in Ukraine in the summer of 2023. Transferring another one would be significant progress, considering the scarcity of this advanced long-range anti-missile weapon.

For a brief reminder, SAMP/T is often referred to as the European analog of the American Patriot as both employ the hit-to-kill technology for interception of ballistic missiles. The one that is missing in the russian-made peer called S-400. However, the European anti-missile system, developed by Eurosam, never gained the same popularity as the Patriot, with its only customer outside Europe being Singapore.

SAMP/T working principle, illustrated / Defense Express / One SAMP-T as Difficult to Get as Two Patriots: Ukraine Negotiates Transfer
SAMP/T working principle, illustrated / Infographics credit: Eurosam

As of 2021, France had 10 SAMP/T systems (fire units), which were divided into five squadrons, two systems per squadron. The French configuration of the system is 6 launchers of 8 missiles each, then one radar, one command post, and support vehicles. In Italy, there were 6 SAMP/T systems (fire units), grouped up into batteries. The Italian composition of the system is smaller: four launchers per fire unit.

Thus, having handed one fire unit over to Ukraine, only 15 SAMP/T systems are left in Europe, or minus 6% of the available systems of this class. Coincidentally, transferring two Patriots out of 30 would result in the same donation of 6% of those present in Europe.

On a reference note, SAMP/T is a ground-based mobile system that employs the power of Aster 30 missiles capable of intercepting non-ballistic targets at ranges over 100 km, or ballistic threats within an estimated range of 30-35 km, although not disclosed officially.

Read more: The UK Prepares for Combat Experiment, Plans Transfer of DragonFire Laser Weapon to Ukraine