It’s been a while now since 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 and the EXOCET anti-ship missiles.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD), following the publications, confirmed in February 2020 the signing of contracts related to the upgrade of specific weapon systems, of an estimated cost of 240 million euros. The MoD, however, did not specify the identity of the systems.
Based on the above and what has been said unofficially so far, we could conclude that the purchase of weapon systems really concerns the above-mentioned systems and in particular their latest version, Mistral-3 (M3) and EXOCET Blk 3c respectively.
With the entrance into service, these systems are expected to significantly enhance the capabilities of the National Guard, especially its confrontation of modern threats.
This article provides a presentation of the Mistral system.
The Mistral is a highly portable, easy-to-use fire-and-forget very-short-range anti-aircraft system (VSHORAD). It consists of the missile launcher mounted on a tripod that can be operated from the ground, a vehicle or a vessel. The system is manufactured by MBDA and the first version of the system was presented in 1988.
The National Guard has operated the twin Mistral launcher for years, named “Atlas” mounted on 6×6 Pinzgauer vehicles. Furthermore, the National Guard operates a SIMBAD twin launcher installed on the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Commodore A. Ioannidis”.
In the past, the SIMBAD twin launcher system equipped the patrol boat “KYRENIA”, a boat which has now been decommissioned.
- 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
The Mistral-3 system is currently in service with the French Armed Forces and has been ordered from various other countries, including Serbia.
Months ago, the French army launched its first Mistral-3 missiles during an exercise from Île du Levant, a Mediterranean island off the coast of the French Riviera near Toulon, France.
The launch was carried out by both a ground launcher and an Arquus ACMAT VLRA vehicle (Atlas version).
* Cover photo: Atlas Mistral on a 6×6 Pinzgauer vehicle of the National Guard during a parade for the October 1st anniversary.
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