Saudi Arabia lines up Shahine SHORAD upgrade

06 October 2013
The Shahine version of the Crotale is only in service with Saudi Arabia. Source: Thales

Saudi Arabia is close to finalising a EUR2.5 billion contract with Thales to upgrade its Shahine short-range air defence (SHORAD) systems, La Tribune reported on 5 October.

The French newspaper cited several unidentified sources as saying the negotiations were completed in early September, but the deal still has to be approved by Minister of Defence Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

It added that negotiations have already begun on a second phase that could be worth around EUR1.5 billion.

Thales (then Thomson-CSF) developed the Shahine SAMs system for Saudi Arabia in the 1970s: it is an improved version of the Crotale 2000 with a larger missile, the R460. The system consists of a launcher with six (rather than the original four) missiles mounted on either an AMX-30 tank chassis or a towed shelter and supported by a target acquisition radar mounted on its own vehicle or shelter.

The Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) received 46 target acquisition radars and 92 launchers in both self-propelled and towed variants in the early 1980s.

These systems were subsequently upgraded by Thomson-CSF to the Shahine 2 standard, which is an improved version of the Crotale 4000.

La Tribune stated that the new contract is named 'Mark 3', suggesting the upgrade will result in a new Shahine 3 standard.

While no further details of the upgrade have been revealed, it could be a development on the latest Crotale NG Mk 3 system, which uses the more manoeuvrable VT-1 missile and has its target acquisition radar mounted on top of the launcher rather than on a separate vehicle. Thales says it is capable of engaging tactical missiles and high-manoeuvring aircraft.

It is debatable whether the Saudis will retain the Shahine's current chassis, given that the AMX-30 tanks that the system was designed to support have been retired from RSLF service.

The naval version of the Crotale is also fitted to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces' Madina-class frigates. La Tribune reported in September that DCNS, which is partly owned by Thales, had won a EUR750 billion contract to upgrade these frigates and two Boraida-class replenishment vessels.

(348 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.


  • 19A, 22A and 23A helicopter gun mountings

    Type 20 mm cannon system. Development In the mid-1950s, at the request of the French army, GIAT (now Nexter Systems) began development of several helicopter mountings for use with the lightweight 20 mm AME 582 cannon (which became the 20 M 621) firepower previously restricted to 0.50 weapons. The

  • Aerea helicopter machine gun mounts

    Type 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine gun systems Development Italy's Aerea S.p.A has developed a number of pintle-type helicopter gun mounts to give an offensive/defensive capability to a wide range of different aircraft types. The first of these to be introduced was a 12.7 mm (0.50 cal)

  • FAMAE SG540 series rifles

    Development The Chilean versions of the original SIG 540 series, the full size SG540-1 assault rifle, SG542-1 automatic rifle and short assault rifle SG543-1 variant are built by FAMAE in accordance with a licence from SIG and form part of a weapons family, with a high percentage of common

  • IMBEL .22 training rifles

    Development This class of rifle is intended to provide a cost effective training option using the long-established .22 Rim Fire cartridge. It can be used on indoor ranges, where the larger calibre weapons may be unacceptable or pose a safety hazard. Description These rifles are reduced-calibre

  • IMBEL 5.56 mm MD2 and MD3 assault rifles

    Development Using the 7.62 mm light automatic rifle already in production for the Brazilian armed forces as a starting point, Fábrica de Itajubá (now known as IMBEL) developed two 5.56 mm assault rifles for use by the Brazilian Army and for export. Prototypes were given the designation


Industry Links

IHS Jane's is not responsible for the content within or linking from Industry Links pages.