meet Cactus "SAM"

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Hello everyone, this is one of my first suggestions off the older forum, hope you enjoy

As the cold war progressed, South Africa found itself on the verge of border wars and looking to bolster its air-defense capabilities, after having its order for the bloodhound SAM system refused by the UK government. In July 1964, it turned to Thomson-CFS for and put forward the requirements for a mobile, all-weather low-altitude system. The south African government paid 85% of the development costs while France paid the last 15%. The system became known to the south Africans as the ‘Cactus’ while the French named it the ‘Crotale.’


The system was first fired in 1967 and after trials in 1971, South Africa had the first 7 platoons delivered with the final one delivered in 1973. A typical platoon of 120 squadron SAAF consisted of One acquisition and Co-ordination Unit and two to three firing units, with a battery having two platoons. The French were impressed with the system and brought the system for both the air force and the navy.


The ACU provides target surveillance, Identification, and designation. Mounted on the top of the vehicle is a Thomson-CSF pulse Doppler radar with fixed-echo suppression which rotates at 60 rpm and has a maximum detection range of 18.5 km against low-level targets with speeds of between 35 and 440 m/s and altitude limits between zero and 4,500 m, it also had an IFF interrogator-decoder. The computer which is installed on the ACU and firing Unit, is used to Confirm accurate data on confirmation of the threat. The computer then triggers the IFF interrogator to distinguish friend or foe.


The Firing Unit (the vehicle to be added), carries four ready-to-fire R440 (more info on R440’s further down) missiles two on each side of the turret. The radar is a J-band monopulse 17km range single target tracking radar mounted in the center of the launcher turret. The system also has an I-band 10° antenna beamwidth command transmitter differential angle-error measurement infrared tracking and gathering system with a ±5° wide field of view, an integrated TV tracking mode as a low-elevation back-up, an optical designation tripod-mounted binocular device (which is controlled manually by a handlebar arrangement and used primarily in a heavy ECM environment or whenever passive operation is required), computer, operating console and datalink. The radar can track one target and guide up to 2 missiles simultaneously. The missiles can be fired 2.5 seconds apart, Guidance signals are transmitted to the missiles by a remote-control system.


The Unit carried no spare missiles, they were loaded by a truck and light crane, A well trained crew that consisted of 3 people could reload four missiles in two minutes.

The missile is designated the R440 and has a length of 2.89m, span of 0.54m and diameter of 0.15m. The missile had an overall weight of 84kg, complete with its launch container weighted 100kg, the warhead contained a HE high energy focused fragmentation warhead which weighed 15kg. The missile had a lethal radius of 8m and is detonated in the original R440 missiles by either the infrared proximity fuse (the fuse is commanded to activate 350 m before interception) or back-up contact fuse. The missile has an SNPE Lens III rocket motor with 25.45 kg of solid propellant. The missile reaches a maximum speed of 750 m/s in 2.8 seconds.



R440 Missile
Length: 2.89 m
Diameter: 0.15 m
Wing span: 0.54 m
Launch weight: 84 kg
Propulsion: solid propellant rocket motor
Guidance: command control
Warhead: 15 kg HE fragmentation with contact and proximity fuzing Max speed: 750 m/s
Max effective range: see text
Min effective range: see text
Max effective altitude: 5,000-5,500 m (depending upon target velocity)
Min effective altitude: 15 m
Reload time: 2 min (full 4-round load)


Combat weight:
ACU 27,827 lb. (12,620 kg)
launch vehicle 32,965 lb. (14,950 kg)
hull length 20 ft 5 in (6.22 m)
width 8 ft 9 in (2.72 m)
hull (both) 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
ACU 10 ft (3.05 m)
launch vehicle 11 ft 11 in (3.41 m)
wheelbase 11 ft 10 in (3.60 m)
ground clearance
travelling 17.7 in (450 mm)
max on jacks 25.8 in (656 mm)
diesel-electric Hotchkiss gasoline engine in
most units
Badouin 6F11 ST 204-bhp diesel
engine in UAE and Qatar vehicles
speed 43.5 mph (70 km/h)
range 372 mi. (600 km)
obstacle, vertical 12 in (0.30 m)
fording 2 ft 3 in (0.68 m)
at 1.2 mph (2 km/h)
at 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
missile 185 lb. (84 kg)
warhead 33 lb. (15 kg)
configuration long, pointed cylinder
cruciform steerable foreplanes
near nose indexed in line with
cruciform, “cropped delta”
mainplanes at tail
length 9 ft 7 3/4 in (2.94 m)
diameter 6.2 in (160 mm)
wing span 1 ft 9 1/4 in (540 mm)
SNPE Lens 10,692-lb. (4,850-kg) thrust solid-
propellant motor burning for 2.3 seconds.
speed Mach 2.3
acceleration 2.3 sec to Mach 2.3
max engagement
target moving at
97 kts (112 mph; 180 km/h)
5.9 nm (6.8 mi.; 11 km)
487 kts (560 mph; 902 km/h)
5.4 nm (6.2 mi.; 10 km)
max crossing range
target moving at 390 kts (449 mph; 723 km/h)
3.2 nm (3.7 mi.; 6 km)
minimum range 1,640 ft (500 m)
engagement altitude
minimum 49 ft ( 15 m)
maximum 16,404 ft (5,000 m)
Warhead HE focalized fragmentation
Sensors/Fire Control
ACU Thomson-CSF Mirador IV E-band pulse-Doppler
max range 10 nm (11.5 mi.; 18.5 km)
launch vehicle Thomson-CSF J-band monopulse radar
max range 8.6 nm (10 mi.; 16 km)
TV tracker
max range 7.6 nm (8.7 mi.; 14 km)
missile IR proximity fuze (armed when missile is
within 1,150 ft/350 m of target) and contact fuze
Crew 3 in each vehicle
4 x 4 (4 wheels driving, 2 wheels steering), Messier
hydro-pneumatic suspension, 3 hydraulic jacks
adjustable to 5 heights from 6-25.8 in (156-656 mm)
armor 3-5 mm

Spare photos:





Only 4 missiles :(

1 Like

4 missiles is better than no missiles, especially after the last SA SAM was denied.


The Cactus with SAHV-3 or SAHV-IR missiles would be a good version to have.


Which one was that

+1 for Uk

after the new spawn point changes to allow SPAA reloads, this would not be an issue.

1 Like

I think that was the ZA-HVM until it was discovered it only existed in a wooden mock up form.