Crotale Next Generation (NG)

- , October 2, 2018

Quick Facts


R440 Crotale

HQ-7 (Chinese Variant)

R460 SICA (Shahine)

Crotale NG

Crotale Mk.3

Role and Mobility Short-Range Air and Missile Defense; Road-Mobile
Interceptors and Range

VT-1 Missiles

Range: 11 km

Mk3 Missiles

Range: 16 km


S-Band Pulse Doppler Radar

Range: 20 km

Targets Short-Range Ballistic Missiles, Combat Aircraft, Standoff Weapons, Tactical Missiles, and Cruise Missiles
Status/Exports Operational; France, Finland, Greece, Georgia, Libya, Oman, and Saudi Arabia
Designer/Producer Thales Air Defense


Introduced in 1990, the Crotale (rattlesnake)[i] Next Generation (NG) is an all-weather, short-range air defense system, equipped with surface-to-air missiles.[ii] The system uses updated VT-1 missiles which have a range of 11 km. Some Crotale systems use the Mk3 missiles which have an extended range of 16 km.[iii] It features a S-Band pulse doppler surveillance radar with Electronic Counter Countermeasures (ECCM) built in.[iv] These automated systems work quickly, averaging six seconds between initial threat detection and missile launch. The NG also boasts an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system to differentiate between hostile threats and allies.[v]

The Crotale has the following variants:

R440 Crotale: The original Crotale SAM with both land and sea variants.

HQ-7: A Chinese reverse engineered version of the Crotale.

R460 SICA (Shahine): A specific version of the Crotale designed for Saudi Arabia with a specialized carrier.

Crotale NG: An updated version of the original Crotale.

Crotale Mk.3: A long-range version of the Crotale NG.[vi]

Strategic Implications

The Crotale NG provides a powerful defense against air-based attacks. Additionally, its multi-sensor suite allows it to be used to assist other military assets in times of audio, visual, or radio communications barriers. Four NG units can be networked to act in unison, providing a steady shield against incoming air attacks and cruise missiles.[vii] VT-1 missiles are also very maneuverable and have an engagement range of nearly11 km, providing adequate distance to hit a mobile target.[viii] Additionally, the Crotale is a highly-mobile system that utilizes a variety of launch platforms including Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs), 6-wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs), and 4-wheeled armored cars, making it a versatile defense system in any situation.[ix]


June 2018: Finland Conducts Live Firing of Crotale NG with New Camera[x]

June 2015: Georgia to Buy Crotale NG from France[xi]

1998: Greece Places Major Crotale/VT-1 Order

1997: France Orders VT-1 for Navy Crotale Systems

1991: Production of the R440 Concluded

1990: Crotale NG Entered Service with the Finnish Army and the French Air Force

1985: Production of the Vertical Launch Naval Crotale Begins

April 1980: Navy Crotale Becomes Operational

1977: Development of Shahine Variant Begins

1968: Series Production on Crotale Begins

1964: Research Initiated

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