Crotale low-altitude surface-to-air missile system (France)
In 1964 South Africa placed a development contract with the French company, Thomson-CSF (now Thales Air Defence), for a mobile all-weather, low-altitude, surface-to-air missile system. The Electronic Systems Division of Thomson-CSF was prime contractor for the complete system including the radar and electronics. Matra was responsible for the missile. The South African government paid 85 per cent of the development costs of the system, which it calls the Cactus and the remaining 15 per cent was paid by France. Seven platoons were delivered to South Africa by 1973. The French Air Force ordered the Crotale (Rattlesnake) system for airfield defence and by late 1978, 20 batteries had been delivered. As produced, Crotale is normally mounted on a P4R (4 × 4) vehicle and can also be shelter-mounted for use in static defence. The first Crotale, produced in 1969, was called the 1000 series. This was followed by the 2000 series in 1973, the 3000 series (originally designed for the French Air Force) in 1975, 4000 series in 1983, the 5000 series in 1985 and the evolved version based on the 3000 series by the French Air Force in 1989. The evolved system includes a better ECM performance and the passive tracking (by FLIR) of targets in both day and night conditions.
HongQi 7 Surface-to-Air Missile System
The HongQi 7 (HQ-7), also known as FeiMeng 80 (FM-80) in its export form, is an all-weather short range air defence system developed by 2nd Aerospace Academy (now China Academy of Defence Technology). The missile was based on the French Crotale air defence missile technology and entered service in the late 1980s. The land-based version of the missile is currently serving with the PLA ground forces and PLA Air Force (PLAAF), while its shipborne version is being equipped by the PLA Navy (PLAN). The improved variant FM-90 for the export market was introduced in 1998. A further improved variant was introduced in 2006/07.
In July 1964, South Africa placed a development contract with the French company, Thomson-Houston (later Thomson-CSF) for a mobile, all-weather, low-altitude surface-to-air missile system. The Electronic Systems Division of Thomson-CSF was prime contractor for the complete system including the radar and electronics and Matra was responsible for the missile. The South African government paid 85 per cent of the development costs of the system, which it calls the Cactus, and the remaining 15 per cent was paid by France. The first firing was in 1967. After trials in 1971 the first of seven platoons was delivered to South Africa with the final one delivered in 1973.
In February 1971, the French Air Force placed its first order in February 1971, naming it Crotale, with several other countries following later.
The basic Crotale has an all-weather capability. A typical platoon consists of one Acquisition and Co-ordination Unit (ACU) and two to three firing units, with a battery having two platoons. All the operators, have one ACU vehicle to two firing units.
The ACU carries out target surveillance, identification and designation. Mounted on the top of the vehicle is a Thomson-CSF pulse Doppler radar. Once the target has been detected, the computer triggers the IFF interrogator and the final threat information is displayed. The target is then allocated to one of the firing units and target designation data and operational orders are transmitted by the datalink which also supplies information from the firing unit on operational status, for example, the number of missiles available.
The firing unit has a tracking radar mounted concentrically with the launcher turret, which carries four ready to launch missiles, two each side. All the vehicles are fitted with an inter-vehicle link network to transmit data and orders by cable and for radio communication by a VHF radio link.
No spare missiles are carried on the vehicle and fresh missiles are brought up by a truck and loaded with a light crane. The missile is designated the R440.
ADS have over the years upgraded the Cactus. The Acquisition Radar and missile Firing Unit (FU) mobile vehicles have been shelterised and the outdated computer systems have been replace. Using the new object-oriented software, the FU is able to fuse tracking data from the optical and radar sensors to achieve better quality tracking. Interfacing to Command and Control structures is also achieved.
120 Squadron operated several upgraded launchers and a fire-control post prior to the retirement of the Cactus sytem http://www.saairforce.co.za/the-airf...us-crotale-sam
" China continues to manufacture and export the cloned Crotale SAM. The latest FM-90 Crotale variant is carried on a new Chinese designed 6 x 6 AFV chassis, replacing the cloned French Thomson-Hotchkiss P4R chassis." " The HQ-7 is a Chinese clone of the French Thales/Thomson CSF Crotale SAM. During the 1970s the French supplied samples of the Crotale which was promptly reverse engineered. The cloned Crotale has been built in two configurations, a high mobility variant for PLA Army units on a 4 x 4 cloned French Thomson-Hotchkiss P4R armoured vehicle, and a less mobile PLA-AF air field defence system, using either a trailer or a truck platform. The Thomson-Hotchkiss P4R vehicle uses either a diesel or gasoline engine driving an alternator which powers electrical motors driving the wheels. A naval variant as also been developed.
A four round elevating tube launcher turret is used, mounting the Ku-band Automatic Command to Line Of Sight monopulse radar dish antenna. Export variants are the FM-80 and improved FM-90 with a FLIR tracker and longer ranging missiles. HQ-7/FM-80/90 batteries are typically supported by an acquisition radar system, the FM-90 usually on a new design indigenous 6 x 6 light armoured personnel carrier."
"The earlier self propelled HQ-7/FM-80 variants employ a reverse engineered variant of the original Thomson-Hotchkiss P4R electrically driven armoured chassis which weighs in at 32,965 lb / 14,950 kg (all images Chinese internet)."
" Late model FM-80 Crotale launch from cloned Thomson-Hotchkiss P4R chassis."