France sends Ukraine made for South Africa SAMs designed in the 70s

KYIV ($1=36.90 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — France plans to provide Ukraine with additional military aid, in particular the CROTALE air defense system. French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecorneau said that Ukraine will receive these anti-aircraft missile systems to defeat UAVs.

France sends Ukraine made for South Africa SAMs designed in the 70s - crotale air defense
Photo credit: Daguet

Lecornu noted that these air defense systems will prove particularly useful in the fight against drones and aerial bombardment. According to the minister, France has 12 such batteries. He did not specify how many of them will go to Ukraine.

The minister hopes that Ukraine will be able to deploy them within two months, including the time to train the Ukrainian army to use them. Sebastien Lecorneu also informed that France has created a fund for 100 million euros, which the Ukrainians will be able to use to purchase the necessary equipment, provided that its supplier is France.

At the same time, France’s use of its arms stockpile to supply Ukraine has also drawn attention to the country’s own defense needs. Lecornu said the CROTALE batteries destined for Ukraine will be replaced by the more advanced Mamba air defense system.

Crotale SAM system

In 1964, South Africa signed a contract with the French company Thomson-Houston to create a mobile air defense system in all weather conditions, designed to destroy targets flying at low and extremely low altitudes.

After the tests were carried out in 1971, the first complexes, called Cactus, were delivered to South Africa within two years. In 1972, the complex called CROTALE was accepted into service with the French Air Force. The complex has been repeatedly modernized and received series: 1000/2000/3000/4000. In 1994, a modernized version of the complex – “Improved Crotale” was launched, equipped with a new radar with a phased antenna array.

Fighting vehicles of the CROTALE complex are mounted on a P4R [4×4] armored wheeled chassis. The complex cannot conduct combat operations on the move, but after stopping, it takes less than 5 minutes to bring it to a combat-ready state.

There is no ammunition for R440 missiles on the launcher, so spare missiles are carried on a special vehicle. The R440 rocket is permanently in the transport-launch container. The total weight of the rocket is 100 kg. The guided high-explosive warhead is located in the central part of the missile body.

The impressive radius of the debris flight is 8 m, and the flight speed reaches 2.3 km/s. It is stated that the target range is 500-10,000 meters and the defeat height is up to 5,000 meters. In addition, it is not yet known which radar stations France will transfer to these complexes.


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