Taking stock of French military aid to Ukraine – AIR DEFENSE

French military aid to Ukraine ranges from air defense and artillery to light armored vehicles.

Here is the list of major French-supplied air defense systems to Ukraine.

Air defense layers

Medium range (5th layer).

SAMP/T that stands for Surface-to-Air Medium-Range/Land-based (Sol-Air Moyenne-Portée/Terrestre in French). It’s made by Thales Group and is a major joint contribution of France and Italy to NATO’s  tactical ballistic missile defense capability. According to Thales, the French Air Force owns 7 systems while the Italian Army owns 3 systems.

Missiles can be up to 5 meter long. SAMP/T protects against aircraft and all kinds of sophisticated missiles such as tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, glide bombs, radar detecting missiles, etc.

Launcher (left) and command vehicle (center & right). Source: Thales

Short range (2nd layer).

Crotale is another masterpiece by Thales Group. It means “rattlesnake” in English because its flying trajectory reminds of a snake. It is a developed to intercept airborne weapons and aircraft, ranged from cruise or anti-ship missiles to helicopters, UAVs or low-flying high-performance fighter aircraft. Ukraine got a mobile land-based version (but it can be installed on a towed trailer, a ship, and so on). Ukraine operates two Crotale batteries.

Source: Militarnyi (https://mil.in.ua)

Short range, portable (1st layer).

MisTrAL is transportable lightweight anti-air missile (Missile Transportable Anti-aérien Léger in French). It is used by all branches of the army rather than the air defense units. Ukrainian soldiers were trained to use it just before the full-scale Russian invasion.

Operated by a crew of two, Mistral weighs just 20 kg and has the length of 1.9 m.

It’s a heat-seeking missile with warhead consisting of tungsten balls that pierce the target as shrapnel.

tungsten balls

Mistral is produced by MBDA France. MBDA is a truly global corporation that has three major aerospace shareholders: Airbus (France/Europe), BAE Systems (UK), and Leonardo Finmeccanica (Italy).

Source: MBDA

For the overall support of Ukraine by the French people and president Emmanuel Macron, see Weimar Triangle summit: 1991 vs. 2023.

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