Based on Crotale NG and in cooperation with Finnish partner Patria, developed into ItO 90M.
Crotale NG is a deep upgrade of the famous French Crotale family, which an all-weather, short-range surface-to-air missile system developed to intercept airborne ranged weapons and aircraft, from cruise or anti-ship missiles to helicopters, UAVs or low-flying high-performance fighter aircraft. It was developed by Thomson CSF Matra (now Thales Group) and consists of a mobile land-based variant as well as various naval ones.
Based on Crotale NG and in cooperation with Finnish partner Patria, developed into ItO 90M – a self-propelled air defense system, in accordance with the requirements of the Finnish army. The system uses the chassis of Finnish armoured personnel carrier Patria Pasi. A total of 21 systems have been ordered, with 480 missiles delivered. It is sometimes referred to as the XA-181. From 2007 to 2010 it was modernized and renamed ItO 90M.
The turret houses the search and tracking radar, optical systems and 8 Crotale VT-1 missiles ready to launch. A single large outrigger is located at the front and two outriggers are fitted to the rear corners of the vehicle.
The ItO 90M is equipped with a Crotale search and separate tracking radar. The tracking radar is located on the turret, and the search radar is mounted on top of the mast. The radar system is capable of tracking a target while scanning, but can only track targets within a swallow 30° arc from the front of the turret.
The Crotale NG system fires the VT-1 medium range surface to air missile that can reach speeds up to Mach 3.5. It is deemed effective against both helicopters and fast moving jet aircraft. The maximum horizontal range is 11 km and maximum altitude is 6 km. A single missile can be launched and guided at a time. Interval between engagements is reported as short.
The Crotale VT-1 is guided using radio commands from the launch vehicle. The missile is tracked by the launch vehicle by either fire control radar or infrared camera. The ItO 90 is fitted with a 30 km range tracking radar, TV camera and infrared camera. The 20 km search radar allows for independent operatiom. However, it is most effective in a coordinated role with inputs from longer range early warning radar. The ItO 90M improvement allows for optical fire direction away from the vehicle, increasing crew survivability. Possibly it also allows for fully passive operation of the launch vehicle, not using the radar.
The ItO 90 is based on the XA-181 chassis, which is a derivative of the XA-180 armored personnel carrier. The steel armor protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. The vehicle has relatively long hull and the crew is spread out at the very ends of front and rear of the vehicle, so it’s unlikely to get knocked out by a single kinetic shell from the sides. Besides, the ItO doesn’t have any reserve ammo rack, and there are only engine and fuel tanks at the middle of hull, so sometimes it will absorb many rounds from inexperienced enemy. The unmanned turret is quite vulnerable to overpressure damage due to its exposed.
The XA-181 wheeled chassis allows for good mobility on roads and reasonable cross country mobility. Since the ItO 90M is much heavier and has a higher center of gravity the off road mobility is reduced compared to the regular APC variants. The ItO 90 is not intended to be used while on the move. Three outriggers provide stability in the firing position.