MBDA | Cyprus and 4 European countries to jointly acquire Mistral 3
Defence Redefined
Published on 19/06/2024 at 20:57

Athanasios Tsakalos*

On the 3rd day of the international Defence and Security exhibition EUROSATORY 2024, France, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia and Hungary signed a framework cooperation agreement for the joint acquisition of the Mistral 3 ground-based air defence system. 

This development follows President Emmanuel Macron’s statement during the Paris Air Show 2023 that France together with Cyprus, Belgium, Estonia and Hungary have signed a cooperation agreement to jointly procure the Mistral anti-aircraft close air defence system.

Also read:  MBDA | Mistral ATAM missile to arm Korean helicopters

As announced, the agreement gives partnering countries access to an improved acquisition process that meets the Armed Forces’ requirements under the auspices of DGA with the support of MBDA. 

According to MBDA, following in the steps of the first five countries, several other states have also indicated their strong interest in this cooperation. 

According to information from DEFENCE ReDEFiNED, which covers the EUROSATORY 2024 exhibition, the agreement provides for a supply of more than 1000 missiles for all countries (potentially 1500).

Mistral 3, which is currently in service with the French Army and has been deployed in Ukraine, is an air defence missile that has an infrared imaging seeker and advanced image processing capabilities. 

Mistral-3 technical characteristics:

  • Missile Weight: 19.7 kg
  • Length: 1.86 meters
  • Diameter: 90 mm
  • Maximum intercept range: 7.5 km
  • Minimum intercept range: 500 m
  • Speed: 930 meters / second
  • Manoeuvrability: Up 30G
  • Day and night operation regardless of weather conditions
  • Target engagement method: Fire and Forget
  • Qualified for use in severe weather conditions and extremes of temperature (-40°C to +71°C)
  • Increased capability against low infrared (IR) signature targets (i.e UAVs) 
  • Warhead’s weight: 3 kg
  • High resistance to IR countermeasures
  • Ability to integrate within a fire control and coordination system such as LICORNE

Also read: Norway | 100 Mistral anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine – HARPOON and NASAMS missiles requested by Zelensky

Mistral and the National Guard

In fact, the Cypriot National Guard has been one of the first users of the system since 1991 in the context of the acquisition of the short-range, air defence system (SHORAD) “OTHELLOS”. 

The National Guard has the double Mistral launcher, “Atlas” on 6X6 Pinzgauer vehicles, while it also has a SIMBAD launcher (2 missiles) on the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Commodore Ioannidis” and the General Support ship “Alasia”. In the past, the SIMBAD twin-launcher system equipped the patrol boat “KYRENIA”, a craft which has now been decommissioned.

Earlier in 2020, the French newspaper La Tribune leaked the information that the National Guard will be supplied with the new Man-portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) Mistral along with the EXOCET anti-ship missiles.

Also read: Mistral-3 | The remarkable SHORAD system the National Guard will acquire – VIDEO and Photos

With an over 96% success rate and a competitive reliability percentage in comparison with all current ground-launched short-range air defence systems, it has the ability to engage targets with low thermal signatures, such as drones, turbojet-powered missiles and fast attack craft from long distances.

Mistral-3 of the French Armed Forces during EUROSATORY 2024

The system (both the original Mistral and the latest version Mistral-3) have also been successfully tested in Ukraine with great success as reported by French Armed Forces sources.

Being in service, these systems are expected to significantly strengthen the capabilities of the National Guard, especially its response to modern threats since, in addition to the capabilities mentioned above, they are capable of being integrated into a network-centric combat system. Read more about them in the following article.

Also read: MBDA | Network-Centric-oriented Philosophy in EXOCET, MISTRAL, MMP – Partnership with Cypriot Companies in the Background




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