Thales Crotale NG passes test campaign in Finland

The Thomson CSF Crotale system, which later became Thales, has been widely used by the French forces since the 80s, ensuring the protection of Air Force bases and those of the French Navy's T70 frigates. The system was also widely exported, notably to Saudi Arabia.

However, with the arrival of the Mistral, Aster and Mica VL systems, the Crotale gradually lost its appeal for French staffs. However, Thales continued to improve the system, with the Crotale NG, and the VT1 missile. Capable of intercepting planes, helicopters, missiles and even artillery shells, the Crotale NG is a perfectly effective SHORAD (Short Range Air Defense) system.

It is in this context that the Finnish armed forces recently conducted a test campaignconcerning the modernization of their Crotale systems to the Crotale NG standard, integrating the VT1 missile and the CATHERINE XP thermal camera. According to them, the results obtained are perfectly satisfactory, in line with expectations and needs.

Smaller and lighter than the MICA VL, and based on an electro-optical guidance system, the Crotale NG system offers an alternative to the growing needs for close anti-aircraft protection of mechanized units, but also of naval units, the VT1 having a remarkable characteristic: it is quadpack (it is possible to deploy 4 missiles per short vertical launch cell of 350 cm, while only one MICA VL can be deployed there.

With a range of 15 km, a ceiling of 9000 m, a speed of mach 3,5, and mixed radar/electro-optical guidance, and its reduced dimensions, the Crotale NG would provide an off-the-shelf solution to many immediate needs for French forces, and of course, foreign ones, as long as France decides to equip itself with them.

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