The Italian government has decided to provide Ukraine with a SAMP/T anti-air missile defense system, which is particularly effective at intercepting cruise missiles, Italian defense news outlet RID reported on Jan. 13.
According to the report, PM Giorgia Meloni has made the corresponding decision several days ago.
About two weeks ago, the issue remained contested, due to the reluctance of both the defense ministry and Italian military. Italy has only five SAMP/T batteries, and one of them is currently deployed in Kuwait as part of operation INHERENT RESOLVE. Some politicians of the governing coalition also opposed the idea.
RID reports that “strong pressure from Washington” has helped to speed up the decision process.
“The plan by which the battery is to be transferred is very complicated, and at present the details are confidential,” RID writes.
“It seems the battery (destined for Ukraine) will be made from bits of French and Italian (SAMP/T) complexes.”
SAMP/T SAM battery is based on the ASTER 30 Block 1 interceptor and is an effective tool mainly against cruise and anti-radar missiles, large drones, and also has a limited anti-ballistic capability – against short-range missiles.
In late December 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with Italian PM Giorgia Meloni, persuading Rome to consider the transfer of air defense systems to Ukraine.