France announces the supply to Ukraine of Crotale air defence missile systems
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the supply of radar and air defence missile systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks. He did not specify the number and type of air defence system that will be delivered to Ukraine, but according to information published by the News Channel “France24”, France could deliver Crotale, a short-range air defence missile system that is in service with the French army.
After the recent attacks by the Russian armed forces with missiles and drones against main cities in Ukraine, France has decided to increase its military aid in the coming weeks with the supply of radar and air defence missile systems to protect Ukraine from Russian drones and missile attacks.
In March 2022, France had already supplied Ukraine with MISTRAL, a short-range MANPADS (Man-portable air-defence system) able to engage a supersonic target flying at 3,000 m at an altitude with a maximum firing range of 6,000 m.
Currently, the French army operates the Crotale NG, an all-weather short-range and multi-sensor air defence system developed by the French company Thales. The system can be used to intercept and destroy aerial threats such as fixed-wing aircraft, attack helicopters, cruise missiles, and tactical missiles.
The Crotale NG is equipped with a multi-sensor suite, including passive electro-optics and radar with built-in Electronic Counter Countermeasures (ECCM) to engage airborne targets under adverse conditions of dense electronic warfare and hostile battlefield environments of nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare (NBC) and smoke and dust screens.
In the French army, the Crotale NG is based on a 6×6 trailer which is equipped with a weapon station armed with two blocks of four ready-to-fire container launchers that can fire the VT1 missile designed to destroy aerial targets at short range. The missile is able to intercept aerial threats including tactical missiles, helicopters, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Systems), and aircraft deploying high-manoeuvring, low-level stand-off weapons. The missile has a maximum firing range of 11 km.