Friday, October 05, 2018

Thales Defense Crotale Next Generation Anti-Air Missile..30 years old and still formidable...

via Thales Press Release.
“Crotale was the first land air defence missile system designed with both radar and infrared sensors to provide the best view of the situation– and it still is,” says Pascal L’ebrellec, Air Defence Sales Manager at Thales. “It’s also a very stable, reliable, compact multi-sensor system with everything integrated on one vehicle from detection to interception, in order to respond to threats from planes, helicopters, or drones.”

This “all in one” missile launcher was designed to protect and reassure Finland against the rumblings of the neighbouring Soviet Union. Throughout the decades, Thales has continually upgraded the Crotale with new features including improved connectivity and electronics.

In its most recent upgrade, the Crotale NG (New Generation), features a state of the art thermal camera that provides the Finnish Defence Forces with a dependable real-time image in daylight or at night. The system is effective helicopters, drones, and rockets, and it can protect fixed or moving civil or military sites. The Crotale NG can fire 13-kilogram warheads at Mach 3.5 speed at ranges of at least 11 kilometres.

“The camera gives you much more information than radar,” says L’ebrellec.  “Radar allows you to see something on a screen, but you don’t know what it is.  It can only tell you whether something is flying according to the flight plan. But with the infrared camera, you can see whether the object is, a dangerous aircraft, or just a toy drone.  It can distinguish between a Finnish aircraft and a Russian, giving you “friend or foe” capacity.”

This capacity to make fine distinctions is an example of how Thales has been keeping Crotale up with the times. “The trend in the military is to use more and more small drones with electronic equipment. We’re coming back to the Cold War world where the targets were small cruise missiles.” This has fuelled strong demand for anti-drone systems around the world, L’ebrellec says. The Crotale NG  has demonstrated that technical decisions made over 30 years ago are still very relevant and make it capable of engaging the targets of today, which weren’t even envisaged when it was designed.

Crotale NG entered production in 1990. Following Finland and France it quickly received a vote of confidence when other countries including Greece, Oman, and South Korea adopted the system.

Faced with increasing and multifaceted threats, Crotale NG will continue to contribute to a stronger and more secure Europe.
Didn't even know this system was still in service ANYWHERE in the world.

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