Mistral ATAM | MBDA’s remarkable air-to-air Mistral missile system variant
Defence Redefined
Published on 04/07/2022 at 18:30

Mistral ATAM (air-to-air missile) is the helicopter-launched variant of the VSHORAD Mistral Air Defence missile system.

The system is based on two launchers, each bearing two missiles, and can be connected to the helicopter’s combat system, when mounted on attack helicopters, or through simplified control equipment if installed on multi-purpose helicopters.

In both cases, it is characterized by simplicity of operation, a very low crew workload, and a high level of performance. According to MBDA, the system can be operated within the whole flight envelope of the launching helicopter, at speeds of up to 200 knots and at altitudes exceeding 15,000 feet (approximately 4,570 meters).

India’s HAL Rudra helicopter

Further, the said weapon system ensures a Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) capability, together with the capability to aim the IRR (Imaging Infra-Red) missile seeker very precisely at a given target. The missile has a shaped trajectory in order to intercept targets top-down or at long range, the crew can also select the proximity fuze mode.

Also read: Gazelle SA342L1 | The legacy helicopter of the National Guard and its upgrade options – Photos & VIDEO

To date, the Mistral variant in question is operated by the French Army Aviation on the Gazelle (currently in service with the National Guard) and in-service on the Tiger attack helicopter, while integration onto India’s HAL Rudra helicopter is underway.

The Mistral-3 missile that will be procured by the National Guard is a very reliable short-range air defence system with a very high success probabilty rate (96%) in engaging targets within its range. The Mistral missile can be launched from platforms on land (MANPADS, ATLAS, etc.), at sea (SIMBAD version -click for more info), but also in the air (the ATAM variant presented here).

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

In particular, the ATAM variant operates through a user-friendly interface, and no pitch-up maneuver is required before firing. Also, the system features an automated engagement sequence with a very short target lock-on and interception reaction time even in a dense environment, along with an easy reload capability. 

In terms of integration into aerial platforms, as already mentioned, the Mistral ATAM can be mounted either on attack helicopters fitted with an integrated combat system (Tigre, Rooivalk) or on lightweight helicopters (Gazelle, Fennec) and multipurpose helicopters (Cougar) as a stand-alone weapon system.

Its technical characteristics include:

  • Weight: 18.7 kg
  • Length: 1.86 m
  • Diameter: 90 mm
  • Maximum intercept range: 6.5 km
  • Minimum intercept range: 500 m

Click on the following link for a full presentation of the new helicopter that will be procured by the National Guard, and for whcih the future integration of MBDA’s Mistral ATAM is a possibilty.

Also read: EUROSATORY 2022 | Presentation of Airbus H145M with SPIKE ER-2 missiles and complete armament suite – VIDEO & Photos




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