MBDA has announced that the first operational firing of an ASTER 15 point
defense missile from HMS Al Riyadh Sawari II class frigate was carried out at
the Mediterranean Test Center in Hyeres near Toulon, France, on September 7,
This firing marks the full operational capability of SAAM system installed on
Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF) Sawari II frigates and the ship's crew training
program. All test objectives were met with the target being acquired and tracked
by the ARABEL multi-functional radar system and then intercepted and destroyed
by direct impact ASTER 15 missile. The missile was launched from SYLVER launch
system and the entire engagement including the above noted systems was managed
by the centralized fire control system.
first SAAM launch performed from HMS Al Damman occurred on March 23, 2004. Since
June 2001, the Sawari II frigates have performed nine successful firings of
ASTER 15 missile. The missile uses an active radio frequency seeker, midcourse
inertial guidance, and thrust vectoring control (TVC) which provides enhanced
maneuverability to seamlessly intercept and kill its intended target. The first
of three frigates was delivered in 2002 to the RSNF and the remaining ships are
scheduled for delivery this year.
The Sawari II procurement contract for three frigates was signed in November
1994 between France and Saudi Arabia. These ships are based on successful La
Fayette class frigates ordered by France and Taiwan. Each Sawari II (F3000S)
frigate has two eight-cell SYLVER launch systems housing 16 ASTER 15 missiles,
the ARABEL multi-function radar and an integrated fire control system as the
basis for SAAM air defense system. In addition, Sawari II frigates are equipped
with eight Exocet MM40 Block 2 anti-ship missiles.
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