Updated December 9, 2016


Italyis a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Italyparticipates in the development of MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System), a cooperative effort with theUSAandGermany. The system is intended to provide protection of military forces against SRBMs, cruise missiles and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). The project, however, stalled after the U.S. pulled its funding in 2012. The withdrawal of U.S. funding drew criticism from both Italy and Germany.

In 2012, Russian diplomats attempted unsuccessfully to sway Italy not to participate in the development of a NATO missile defense shield. Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola said the Italian views on missile defense did not “correspond” to the Russian position, and reasserted Italy’s support of European missile defense plans.

In October of 2012, Italy conducted a successful test of its TPS-77 radar. According to a NATO press release ,  the “Italian TPS-77, as a BMD sensor, is able to contribute to NATO’s ballistic missile defense situational awareness.”

Ballistic Missile Defense Capabilities in Italy

System Operator Number Deployed Platform
SAMP/T Air and Missile Defense System Italy Five batteries Ground-based; road mobile sampt-1540x800
Principle Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) Italy Two Horizon-class frigates  paams-1-1540x800
S1850M Radar (Derivative of SMART-L) Italy Two Horizon-class frigates s1850m-radar
European Multifunction Phased Array Radar (EMPAR) Italy Two Horizon-class frigates sampson-and-empar-radar

Italy currently has five Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain (SAMP/T) Theatre BMD Systems,  Spada 2000 air defense system,

Italy’s Thales S 1850M long-range radar, along with its European Multifunction Phased Array Radar (EMPAR) can track 24 missiles against 12 targets simultaneously. Italy also fields the TPS-77 radar, another system that has been integrated into the European missile defense shield.

Air Defense Capabilities in Italy

System Role Number Deployed Platform
Spada 2000  Short-range air defense  Four batteries Ground-based; road mobile spada-2000
AN/TPS-77 Radar Long-range air defense radar Unknown Ground-based tps-77-radar

Current Developments

In March 2013, the Italian army participated in a successful test of the SAMP-T missile defense system developed by MBDA. In the test, an Aster 30B1 intercepted an Israeli made Black Sparrow test-missile. Italy cooperated with the French Air Force on the operation.

Recent News

International Cooperation