The Italian Aspide, basically a licensed version of the American Sparrow, is similarly employed as both an air-to-air and surface-to-air missile, and in the later role it is launched from both ships and ground platforms. The AIM-7E Sparrow entered service in 1962 and was widely used as a standard for other variants such as the Sky Flash (UK) and Aspide (Italy). Alenia Difesa offers a complete range of systems, including the air to air and surface to air systems based on Aspide missile (Spada, Skyguard, Albatros, ARAMIS).
The Chinese PL-11 medium-range AAM is based on the Aspide, which was acquired by China in the late 1980s for use in the air-to-air roles, and as with the American and Italian version, subsequently in the LY-60 system modified for both ground and naval air defence applications. In reaction to the Tiananmen Square massacre, the European Council--an EU decision-making body comprised of ministers from EU member countries--imposed several sanctions in June 1989, including "an embargo on trade in arms with China." The deliveries of Italian Aspide air-to-air missiles appear to have been made in connection with pre-embargo agreements. Although a contract for the Aspide system has been signed with Italian firm Alinea, the government in Rome had not given its permission to export the missiles to Cyprus, fearing the deployment would only fuel existing tensions.
Through Alenia Difesa, Finmeccanica offers a complete range of systems, including the surface to air systems based on the Aspide missile (Spada, Skyguard, Albatros, ARAMIS;.
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