120 Squadron SAAF

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120 Squadron SAAF
Egyptian Crotale.JPEG
An Egyptian Crotale surface-air missile system, similar to that operated by 120 Squadron
Active 1970–1980s
Country  South Africa
Branch  South African Air Force
Role Missile based air defence

120 Squadron SAAF was a South African Air Force squadron formed in 1970 to operate the South African/French Cactus surface to air missile systems in an air defence role. The unit was disbanded when the Cactus system was retired from service in the late 1980s.

History and deployment[edit]

In July 1964, South Africa placed a development contract with Thomson-CSF for a mobile, all-weather, low-altitude SAM system after a South African order for the Bloodhound SAM system was refused by the UK government.[1] The South African government paid 85 per cent of the development costs of the system with the balance being paid for by France. The system was known as "Cactus" within the SAAF and "Crotale" in France. The units were operationally deployed in platoons in 1971 with each platoon consisting of one Acquisition and Co-ordination Unit (ACU) and two or three firing units, with a battery having two platoons. All Cactus air defence batteries were placed under command of 120 Squadron until the retirement of the system in the late 1980s.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Crotale/Shahine/R440, R460, VT-1 (France), Defensive weapons". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Wingrin, Dean. "Cactus (Crotale) SAM". SAAF.co.za. Retrieved 16 August 2012.