Greek Army Crotale surface-to-air missile on launcher with support truck

The Crotale EDIR (Ecartométrie Différentielle InfraRouge, "InfraRed Differential Ecartometry") is an all-weather short-range anti-air missile, which can be used to intercept low-flight anti-ship missiles and aircraft.


It has been developed by Thomson CSF Matra and exists in two versions, a mobile land-based version and a ship-launched one.


Originally the Crotale R440 system was developed by Thomson-Houston (and Mistral) in France for South Africa, where it got the name Cactus. However, the achievements of the system convinced the French Armed Forces, who purchased the system both for the air force and for the navy.

The firing system includes the main sensors of the ship, the firing system of the turret, and a central coordination system. The turret holds eight missiles ready for launch in watertight containers. The magazine behind the turret holds 18 missiles.

The French army first utilised wheeled variant armed with four launchers. In order to ensure a higher mobility, it was decided to mount the system on the chassis of the French AMX-30 main battle tank at the same time increasing the number of launchers to six. In Finnish Army service, the Crotale NG system has been mounted on Patria Pasi armoured vehicles with eight launchers.

The Crotale system has also been installed on various combat. For instance the French Navy La Fayette class frigates have a Crotale 8-tubed launcher near the helicopter flight deck.

CROTALE Specifications
Type Short range anti-air missile
Manufacturer Thales
Weight 84kg
Warhead 15kg blast and fragmentation warhead with proximity fuse
Length 2.9m
Diameter 0.11m
Wingspan 0.5m
Performance Speed Mach 3 +, range 11km