The Crotale NG air defense complex arrived in Ukraine, not long after France announced its aid to Kyiv.

The French Ministry of Defense announced that Paris has handed over to Kyiv two batteries of the Crotale NG air defense system, which is used to destroy air targets at short ranges and at low altitudes.

Thus, up to now, the Ukrainian armed forces have owned 2 radar stations and 6 self-propelled launchers of the Crotale NG complex, each launcher integrated with 8 guided air defense missiles. Previously, the French government revealed that it intended to transfer the Crotale air defense missile system to Ukraine, but at that time many military experts believed that Kyiv would only receive an outdated variant.

The delivery of the latest version of Crotale NG complexes to Ukraine can be effective enough in intercepting small and low-altitude targets such as drones and cruise missiles. Although the features of Crotale NG are very formidable, but because the number of these air defense systems in the combat component of the Ukrainian Army is too small, experts say that this weapon will not affect much to the battlefield.

Crotale is a short-range surface-to-air missile system developed by Thomson CSF Matra in the 1960s, officially put into service with the French Army in 1971. The Crotale system is designed to intercept air threats including attack helicopters, fighter aircraft, as well as tactical cruise missiles. The air defense complex has a weight of nearly 15 tons, a length of 6.22 m, a width of 2.72 m, and a height of 3.05 m. The crew of 3 includes the driver, commander, and missile operator.

The TELAR vehicle is based on a Thomson-Hotchkiss P4R 4×4 armored chassis. It carries 4 missiles and is fitted with engagement radar. It also has an optical aiming system. Armor of this vehicle provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.

A standard missile is 3 m long and weights 84.5 kg. It has a solid fuel rocket motor. It gives the missile a maximum speed of Mach 2.3 and a range of 12 km. Minimum range of fire is about 500-700 m. It can reach targets at an altitude of 5.5 km. The missile has a 15 kg High-Explosive Fragmentation warhead with contact and proximity fuses. A single missile has a hit probability of 80%. If two missiles are launched at the same target, hit probability is 96%.

Crotale Acquisition and Coordination Unit is based on the same Hotchkiss P4R 4×4 armored chassis. It is fitted with acquisition radar. This vehicle detects targets, tracks them, identifies targets, identifies weather it is friend or foe. The radar can detect up to 30 targets and track 12 targets simultaneously. Detection range is 18.4 km. Tracking range is 17 km.

Crotale NG is a further evolved version of the original Crotale. The Crotale NG air defense complex uses a set of multi-sensors, including a passive electro-optical station and radar with integrated electronic countermeasures to effectively attack air targets. The R-440 interceptor missile has a weight of 84.5 kg, a length of 3 m, a diameter of 0.55 m, integrated with a 15 kg fragmentation warhead. Missiles have a range of 11 km, maximum speed of Mach 3.5, lethal radius of 8 m. Also missiles are more maneuverable.


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