The Finnish armed forces held a ceremony at the Rovaniemi air base in Finland on 4 October 2018 to celebrate 30 years of operational service from their Crotale New Generation (NG) short-range air defence systems. The event was attended by Thales and local industry partners as well as numerous representatives of civil and military organisations from Finland and France.
In addition to protecting Finland's population and the territorial integrity of the nation, the Finnish armed forces serve alongside European and UN forces on many of the missions led by international organisations. For the last 30 years, Thales has been working with the country's armed forces to provide capability sustainment and support services for their Crotale NG short-range air defence systems.
This system developed by Thales is an end-to-end air defence solution, from detection to interception, designed to counter conventional air threats such as aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. It is installed on a variety of different platforms to protect forces on the move as well as sensitive civil and military sites, helping to ensure the safety of military personnel and Finland's population at every decisive moment.
"The Finnish defence forces rely on Thales equipment to help them to keep the population safe and protect units on the ground. The Crotale NG short-range air defence system has taken part in numerous operations in Finnish theatres, demonstrating excellent performance and manoeuvrability. With its automatic data exchange functions, it is seamlessly integrated within the overall air defence system to defend Finland's national territory," said Seppo Lahti, who was formerly the technical chief for guided weapon systems at the Finnish Army's procurement agency and served as Crotale NG project manager within the armed forces for eight years.
Today Thales is supporting the armed forces as they enter the digital age, helping them to better protect their personnel and enhance mobility. The Crotale NG system is an integral part of the broader trend towards battlefield digitalisation, and the latest capability upgrades will ensure that the system continues to provide an effective response to new and emerging threats until 2040.