To provide air defense of tank and mechanized units against air strikes, first of all, protection against attack helicopters with antiaircraft gunships, the SANTAL anti-aircraft system (Systeme Anti-aerien Autonome Leger) was developed on the basis of Mistral man-portable air defense systems. SANTAL" SAM system is a universal turret system, which can be placed on different types of army chassis.
The head developer of SAM system "SANTAL" is "Hispano-Suiza". The first prototype of the complex (PO1) on Panhard ERC chassis was created in 1987. The second prototype was created the same year on the basis of wheel (4x4) armored personnel carrier VAB. After testing, the complex on the Panhard ERC chassis was chosen for adoption by the French Armed Forces. The military tests were completed in 1990, but later on the project was stopped for financial reasons.
In early 1993, the SANTAL tower system was mounted on the chassis of the Russian BMP-3 and Swiss MOWAG Piranha (8x8). The first version was intended for the United Arab Emirates, the second - for Saudi Arabia.
SANTAL" SAM system is a rotating turret on which two launchers (three missiles each), impulse Doppler radar for detection and tracking of air targets "Rodeo-2", sighting devices and identification system "in-situ" are mounted. Ammunition of missiles is placed in the chassis and is six SAMs in the industrial complex. There is a possibility of manual recharging. For self-defense, a 7.62 mm machine gun and four smoke bombs are installed at the top of the tower.
The full combat calculation of the complex consists of three persons: a radio operator - the commander of the chassis, the missile guidance operator and the driver. The tower is equipped with a fire control system and a radar control panel. The tower system rotates 360 ° azimuth at a speed of 50 degrees / s by electric drive. The range of pointing the launchers at an angle from -10° to +60°. In case of unforeseen circumstances, the tower system can be manually operated. The pointing operator has periscopic devices for all-around field of view and the Sopelem M411 six times zoom day sights placed at the front of the tower, as well as the TSO Castor type thermal imager with two fields of view - on the left side of the tower. Maximum speed of the self-propelled complex on the highway is 90km/h, power reserve is about 1000km.
Detecting n destroying the target is as follows. After the target is detected and recognised by the Surveillance Radar, the missile turret system turns azimuthally towards the target. The operator searches for the target using a thermal imaging camera or an optical sight. When a target is detected, it is automatically captured by an escort and the missiles are launched when the target enters the area of engagement.
The Rodeo-2 radar can detect helicopters camouflaged on the ground at ranges above 6 km, and those in open positions - at ranges above 8 km. The range of detection of flying aircraft and helicopters exceeds 12 km. Two targets can be accompanied at the same time. The radar is capable of detecting and identifying the flying helicopter from the one standing on the ground.