Samp/T system for Ukraine, the Government evaluates the shipment

Among the urgent dossiers on President Melon's desk is the one relating to the decision to send a second battery of Samp/T air defense missiles to Ukraine following pressure from allies to strengthen arms deliveries to Kiev.

The news, which appeared in some media in recent days, was also explored in depth by the specialized newspaper Defense News, which reports that the decision could take place within two weeks. It also appears that, like the previous one, the missile battery in question is not located in Italy but comes from the batch of five currently deployed and managed by Italy in Kuwait. It is true that our country recently declared that it wanted to recover a Samp/T system positioned in Slovakia as a result of participation in a NATO program, the Enhanced Vigilance Activity, for which 150 soldiers from the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command of Sabaudia and the 4th “Peschiera” Regiment of Mantua. The Samp/T battery was installed in the East to replace a Patriot system sent by the US in 2022 in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, positioned to defend the Slovakian border. Furthermore, the previous government in Bratislava (the executive changed in 2023 following political elections) had handed over to Ukraine the only battery of the S-300 air defense system in possession of the country's armed forces. The Samp/T, more modern than the S-300, is an air defense missile system that entered service in 2013; installed on trucks, it is particularly effective against ballistic and cruise missiles, aircraft, helicopters and drones. The name derives from the French definition “Family of future medium-range surface-to-air missiles” and is developed by the Anglo-French-Italian multinational Mbda together with Thales. For the land version it is based on Aster 30 missile launchers, whose guidance system is based on data transmission and an active radar. The range varies between 80 and 100 km, the maximum altitude that can be reached is 25,000 meters and the speed with which it flies is close to Mach 4.5 (it varies depending on the altitude, but reaches around 1200 meters per second). The Aster missiles are propelled by a solid propellant motor, while the explosion of the fragmentation charge occurs by triggering the proximity fuze.

In fact, Italy, like all European nations, is increasing its military spending. Last week, during the meeting in Rome between President Giorgia Meloni and NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, the latter declared to the press that he had encouraged Italy to increase defense spending, which in recent years has Italy has actually increased from around 1.25% to 1.38% of GDP, a figure which however remains far below the 2% target set by the alliance for all members and promised to Trump during the Gentiloni government. However, it is unlikely to be an achievable value unless by the end of the decade.