France supplies Ukraine with two Crotale NG air defense systems and two LRU rocket launchers
Citing the French Minister of Defense, Sébastien Lecornu, two batteries of Crotale NG air defense missile systems have been delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces out of the twelve owned by the French Air Force. France will also deliver two LRU Multiple Launch Rocket Systems to Ukraine to offer long-range artillery support to the Ukrainian army.
According to information from the Military Balance 2021, France has a total of 13 LRU rocket launchers while the French Air Force has 24 Crotale used to conduct short-range air defense.
At the same time, the French Parliament approved a budget of $200 million for Ukraine that can be used to order military equipment produced by the French defense industry such as the Bastion wheeled armored vehicles or floating bridges.
The French Minister of Defense also confirmed that 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers will be trained in France in the framework of the European mission EUMAM (European Union Assistance Mission Ukraine). To date, 400 Ukrainian soldiers have already been trained by France to operate the military equipment delivered by France.
Currently, France has already supplied Ukraine with 18 CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 15 TRF1 155mm towed howitzers, 60 VAB wheeled armored vehicles, TRM 2000 and GBC 180 trucks, Peugeot P4 4x4 tactical vehicles, MISTRAL portable air defense systems, MILA anti-tank weapon systems, FGM-148 Javelin, small arms, and ammunition.
The LRU is a French version of the American M270 MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System. (Picture source Army Recognition)
The LRU is a modernized version of the American M270 equipped with a new firing control system and able to fire new types of guided rockets. According to open-source information, a total of 13 LRUs are currently in service with the French Army.
The LRU design consists of two main parts with the crew cab at the front and the launcher pod mounted at the rear of the tracked chassis. The rocket launcher station includes two pods of 6 rockets. The vehicle can fire the new M31 GPS-guided rocket which has a circular error probability of fewer than 10 m and a maximum firing range of 70 km.
French air force Crotale NG short-range air defense missile system. (Picture source Army Recognition)
In the French army, the Crotale NG is based on a 6x6 trailer which is equipped with a weapon station armed with two blocks of four ready-to-fire container launchers that can fire the VT1 missile designed to destroy aerial targets at short range. It is equipped with a multi-sensor suite, including passive electro-optics and radar with built-in Electronic Counter Countermeasures (ECCM) to engage airborne targets under adverse conditions of dense electronic warfare and hostile battlefield environments of nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare (NBC) and smoke and dust screens.
The Crotale NG missile is able to intercept aerial threats including tactical missiles, helicopters, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Systems), and aircraft deploying high-maneuvering, low-level stand-off weapons. The missile has a maximum firing range of 11 km.