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Crotale (Rattlesnake) / Shahine

The Crotale is a mobile, all-weather, low-altitude surface-to-air missile system. It is designed to combat targets flying at a speed of M1.2 at an altitude of 50 to 3,000 m and an equivalent radar area of 1 m{2}. Crotale, developed by Thomson CSF Matra, has a boost/glide trajectory and can be launched from mobile launcher. Fired against targets such as aircraft and missiles, the maximum range of the missile is 8km up to 5000m altitude at the a speed of Mach 2.3. This is an all-weather, low altitude mobile air defense missile weapon system designed to counter air saturation attacks. It is equipped with digital radio command missile line of sight to target line of sight. Crotale has a single stage solid propelled rocket motor [designated R.440], and a 15 kg high explosive focused fragmentation warhead.

A typical platoon consists of one Acquisition and Co-ordination Unit (ACU) and two to three firing units, with a battery having two platoons. The system cannot operate on the move, but takes less than 5 minutes to become operational once it has stopped. The missile can be launched within about 6.5 seconds after the target is detected. South Africa initiated the development of the system by the French company Thomson-CSF in 1964, and deliveries to South Africa were completed in 1973. In 1971 the French Air Force took an interest int he program, and by 1978 a total of 20 batteries had been delivered. Saudi Arabia became a customer starting in 1975.

In 1975 Saudi Arabia ordered a new version of the Crotale, known as the Shahine, mounted on the chassis of the Giat Industries AMX-30 MBT. The system has a number of improvements over the standard Crotale. The Saudis also ordered the standard Crotale in late 1978 and an upgraded version in 1990 for their air force.

In November 1988, at the second ASIANDEX exhibition in Beijing, the China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC) revealed the FM-80 land-mobile shelter-mounted surface-to-air missile system on two-axle trailers. The FM-80 is very similar in concept to the Crotale shelter-mounted version and its naval equivalent.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:53:11 ZULU