The Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS) is a joint programme developed by France, Italy and the United Kingdom for an integrated anti-aircraft warfare system. The prime contractor is EUROPAAMS, a joint venture between Eurosam (66%) and MBDA subsidiary UKAMS (33%). In the United Kingdom PAAMS has been given the designation Sea Viper.
PAAMS was originally intended to be deployed in the 'Common New Generation Frigate' (also known as the Horizon-class frigate) for the navies of the United Kingdom, France and Italy. The French DGA placed a contract with EUROPAAMS on 11 August 1999 for the development and initial production of the PAAMS warfare system along with the associated Long Range Radar (LRR) system. The contract included one PAAMS system and one LRR for each of the first British, French and Italian new class of warships. Irreconcilable differences in the design requirements led to the United Kingdom leaving the 'Common New Generation Frigate' project in October 1999. After withdrawing, Britain instead decided to pursue a national warship design, designated the Type 45 destroyer. The United Kingdom remained committed to the PAAMS project. As a result of efforts to achieve economies of scale, the PAAMS command and control system shares common architecture between the Horizon class and Type 45 destroyers. In 2009 PAAMS(S) was given the service name Sea Viper by the Royal Navy.
Both variants of the PAAMS operate in conjunction with the S1850M Long Range Early Warning Radar.
PAAMS is designed to track, target and destroy a variety of high performance air threats, including saturation attacks of very low altitude, supersonic cruise missiles, fighter aircraft and UAVs. PAAMS can launch eight missiles in under ten seconds with its Sylver Vertical Launching System, and simultaneously guide up to 16 missiles at once. The PAAMS(S) variant consists of both the SAMPSON and S1850M long range radars and is capable of tracking in excess of 1,000 targets at ranges of up-to 400 km. BAE Systems also claims that its SAMPSON radar has "excellent detection of stealth aircraft and missiles". Nick Brown the editor-in-chief of Jane's International Defence Review was quoted as saying the Type 45 is "certainly one of the most advanced air defence ships in the world. Like the later model US Aegis System, the Sea Viper can engage multiple targets simultaneously.