Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of navy warships
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle

Crotale SAM

Surface-to-Air Missile Defense System

The French Crotale air defense system program produced some 6,000 missiles since inception in 1978.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 8/13/2018
National Flag Graphic


Year: 1978
Manufacturer(s): Thales Air Defence, Bagneux, France
Production: 500
Capabilities: Anti-Aircraft/Airspace Denial;
Crew: 3
Weight: 4 tons (4,000 kg); 8,818 lb
Power: Not Available. The turret system is adaptable to a variety of chassis types.
Range: 12 miles (20 km)
Operators: Bahrain; Egypt; Finland; France; Greece; Iran; Oman; Pakistan; Portugal; South Korea; Saudi Arabia; South Africa; United Arab Emirates
The Crotale missile defence system can be fitted on a variety of chassis types and launched against targets overland or overwater. The French Air Force, Finnish Army and French Navy are just some of the users of this multi-dimensional system which began its design phase in 1967 and entered production in 1978. Four Crotale missile defense systems can be networked to cooperate in unison, providing an effective "Friend-Or-Foe" net against inbound aerial threats including cruise missiles. The Crotale missile has proven highly maneuverable for its role and can reach speeds in excess of Mach 3.5 with an engagement range out to 11 kilometers (6.8 miles).

Fire control utilizes multiple sensors with passive optics and radar working alongside electronic countermeasure systems. The target detection and acquisition systems are completely automated to achieve the fastest response time by the crew. The highly adaptable system can be ported onto a variety of chassis requirements some of which have been seen on Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs), 6-wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) and 4-wheeled armored cars.

The Crotale "NG" ("Next Generation") variant became an upgraded production mark when it was introduced with Finland. Other marks have included the HQ-7 Chinese reverse-engineered model then copied by the Iranians. Saudi Arabia operates the SICA "Shahine" R460 series. The Crotale Mk.III is the latest in the Crotale line and began testing around 2008 - this version is capable of engaging smaller drone aircraft with accuracy.


4 x Missile-launching tubes.

8 x VT1 / Mk.III anti-aircraft missiles.

Variants / Models

• Crotale R440 - Base Variant
• Crotale NG - Next Generation upgraded version
• Crotale Mk.III - Modernized Crotale launcher system
• "Sea Crotale" - Navalized variant
• HQ-7 - Chinese reverse-engineered copy
• Shaheb Thaqeb - Iranian copy of the Chinese HQ-7 series.
• SICA R460 - Saudi Arabian version by Thomson-CSF
• Chun Ma (Pegasus) K-SAM - Joint Export Venture for South Korean Army.
Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map Site content ©2003-, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT

Part of a network of sites that includes, GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo