French Crotale in Ukraine: first interception of a Russian missile
French Crotale in Ukraine: first interception of a Russian missile

| Gaétan Powis | Source : Air&Cosmos 495 mots

French Crotale in Ukraine: first interception of a Russian missile

A video confirms the first confirmed destruction carried out by a Ukrainian Crotale NG anti-aircraft system. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have received two launchers and missiles from France to increase their anti-aircraft and anti-missile capabilities by the end of 2022.

Delivery to Ukraine

In November 2022, France confirmed the shipment of two Crotale NG anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine along with two LRU multiple rocket launchers (more info in this article). These materials have meanwhile been transferred after the training of Ukrainian servants. On December 22, first images of Unitary Rocket Launchers (LRU, French version of M270 MLRS) in Ukraine appeared on social networks. On the other hand, no images were available of the two Crotale NGs.

First images and first shots

On March 20, the first images of a Crotale NG in Ukraine were published on social networks. This is a video (available below) of an NG Crotal posted on social networks. The video is filmed from the system's firing post (2 operators), with the console showing the infrared shot. The first part of the video shows the firing of a first VT1 missile by the Crotale NG but the video is then cut off, probably due to an unsuccessful interception (reason unknown) but the second part shows the departure of a second VT1 missile and the successful interception of the Russian missile, destroyed in midair.

Crotale NG

The Crotale New Generation (Crotale NG) is a modernized variant of the Crotale short-range anti-aircraft system. It entered service in 1990 and consists of a completely redesigned version of the system. France opted for a towed version (on a trailer) and should not be confused with other self-propelled Crotale NGs, such as the ItO 90 (Crotale NG on a 6x6 XA-181 chassis) or the K-SAM Pegasus (Crotale NG on a K200 tracked chassis). The system remains compact with:

  • 8 VT1 surface-to-air missiles with a range of over 11 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 9 kilometers. It is a fast (Mach 3.5) and highly maneuverable missile (load factor can approach 35 g).
  • pusle-Doppler surveillance radar (S-band, 20 kilometer range and maximum altitude of 5 kilometers) with an integrated IFF.
  • pulse-Doppler tracking radar (Ku band, range greater than 30 kilometers)
  • daytime electro-optical system (15 kilometers range)/thermal (more than 19 kilometers range)

The Crotale NG has an anti-aircraft (aircraft, helicopters, UAVs) and missile defense capability. The Air Force had recently been using only 12 Crotale NGs until the delivery of two of its launchers to Ukraine. Some perceive this delivery as a capability turn, but the latter is very small and more importantly, the Crotale NGs will be replaced by VL-MICA (Vertical Launch MICA New Generation) systems.

There is no external image of a Crotale NG in Ukraine yet. Therefore, the cover image of the article depicts an Air Force NG Crotal during the Orion 2023 exercise.

Article modified on March 22, 2023 at 12:45 a.m.

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