MBDA Aster

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Missile Aster is a surface-to-air missile manufactured by the European firm MBDA. The missile comes in two variants, the medium range Aster 15 and the longer range Aster 30. The Aster missile, together with the SYLVER launcher, is the main component of PAAMS (Principle Anti-Air Missile System), a French/Italian/British joint program for a naval anti-aircraft weapon.



During the 1980s, the predominant missile was the short-range missile, like the Roland or Crotale, with ranges up to a dozen kilometres. During the 1990s, very-short range system came to complete the defensive perimeter in a 5 km radius.

The 2000s are expected to see the replacement of the present Medium-range defence systems (ranges beetween 30 to 100 kilometres) coming to obsolescence. The current range of SAM systems, like the American Sea Sparrow or the Standard-Tartar, the British Sea Dart, or the land-based systems Hawk ans Patriot, cannot be modernised indefinitely, and are already showing their limitation against opponents growing smaller, faster, more stealthy, more intelligent, and more capable of electronic warfare.

The actual systems also have the characteristic of being specialised either in short-to-medium range "point defence" (ships, for instance), or in medium-to-long range "zone defence" (fleets)

In this context, the European consortium EUROSAM (Aérospatiale, Thomson-CSF and Alenia) are developing the new generation Aster anti-missile missile, with the following specifications :

  • Inter-service: addresses the needs of the Land, Air and Naval forces alike)
  • Multinational: development shared by France, Italy and the United Kingdom
  • Modular and extensible

Therefore, the Aster family is able to fulfil the needs of three requirements :

  • Naval autodefence, with the Aster-15, commissioned abord the Charles de Gaulle in 2001. In this context, the introduction of the Aster enlarges the role of the defence missile from a short-range last defence against anti-ship missiles, to a broader longer-range (30 km) self-defence, as well as to contribute to the protection of close
  • Land zone defence, with the Aster-30; the aim is to provide effective defences against modern missiles.
  • Naval local and zone defence, with the naval Aster-30, which will arm to Horizon frigates. The Aster 30-PAAMS ("Principal Anti-Air Missile System") will cumulate the advantages of both systems above and allow a unique broad naval defense, able to provide self-defence, "local defence" of neighbouring ships, and naval "zone defence".

Additionally, the Aster system was designed in such a way as to allow any of the versions to have an anti-ballisitic tactical missile role.

New Generation

The Aster features to majors improvements over the previous generations of missiles :


The manoeuverablitly is greatly improved thanks to a new control system. The traditional control flaps have been carefully optimised, and are associated with four powder maneuver rockets at the center of gravity of the missile (also refered to as PIF-PAF for Pilotage induit en force—Pilotage aerodynamique en force). This prevents a rupture of the missile under high-g manoeuvers, during trajectory corrections, and allows such manoeuvers to occure without losing aerodynamical performances, which improves the precision of the impact of target. A standart launch of the Aster can include 90 degrees trajectory changes.


Techological improvements allow the onboard radar to fulfil roles of sentry, meteo, target discrimination, acquisition and chase. The radars are capable of simultaneously tracking 300 flying objects, discriminate around 60, and guide up to 16 missiles.

Users / Inventory

Missing image
Aster launchers on the FS Charles de Gaulle.

Combat Performance

Missing image
Launching of an Aster salvo

As of 2004, the Aster has never been used in actual combat.

The trials, between 1993 and 1994, were very successful. All flight sequences, altitudes and rages, were validated. This was also the period during which the launch sequence of Aster-30 was validated.

In May 1996, trials of the Aster-15 active electromagnetical final guidance system against live targets began. All six attempts were successful :

  • 8th of April 1997 : interception of a C22 target simultaing a subsonic antiship missile, flying at 10 metres, at a distance of 7 kilometres.
  • 23rd of May 1997 : Direct impact on an Exocet anti-ship missile of the first generation, at 9 kilometres, to protect a distant ship (7 km). This was the first "Hit-to-Kill" interception ever against an antiship missile.
  • 13th of November 1997 : interception of a C22 target in very low flight in a strong countermesures evironment. In this test, the Aster was not armed with its military warhead so that the distance between the Aster and the taget could be recorded. The C22 was recovered bearing two stong cuts due to the fins of the Aster missile.
  • 30th of December 1997 : Interception of a live C22 target by an Aster-30 at a distance of 30 kilometres, an altitude of 11,000 metres, and a speed of 900 km/h. The Aster climbed up to 15 000 metres before falling on the target at a speed of 2880 km/h. The closest distance between the Aster and the C22 was four metres.
  • 29th of June, 2001 : Interception of a Arabel missile in low altitude, in less than 5 seconds.
  • In 2001 : Interception by the Aster-15 of a target simulating an aircraft flying at Mach-1 at an altitude of 100 metres.


The Aster 15 and Aster 30 differ only in the size of their booster - total weights being 310kg and 450kg respectively.

See also

External links


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