Mistral (missile)

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54RA-IMG 9142.jpg
Mistral mounted on a truck platform of the 54th Artillery Regiment
Type Manportable surface-to-air missile
Place of origin France
Service history
In service 1988 – Present
Used by See Operators
Wars Second Congo War
Production history
Designer MBDA
Manufacturer MBDA
Length 1.86 m
Diameter 90 mm
Crew 1

Effective firing range up to 6 km
Warhead High Explosive with high density Tungsten balls
Warhead weight 2.95 kg
Laser proximity or impact triggered

Engine Solid Rocket Motor
Speed 800 m/s, approx. Mach 2.6 (high supersonic)
Infrared homing

Mistral is an infrared homing surface-to-air missile manufactured by the European multinational company MBDA missile systems (formerly by Matra BAe Dynamics). Based on the French SATCP (Sol-Air À Très Courte Portée), the portable missile later to become the Mistral began development in 1974. It was initially deployed in 1988 for the first version (S1) and 1997 for the second version (M2).

Weapon platforms[edit]

The basic Mistral missile is used with a man-portable launch unit. There are also launch units that allow the missile to be fired from armoured vehicles, ships or helicopters (such as the Aérospatiale Gazelle, Denel Rooivalk, or Eurocopter Tiger). To reject the flares ejected from the rear of the targeted aircraft, proportional navigation using a gyro as a reference is adopted for Mistral, instead of the pursuit method in earlier IR-guided MANPADS. To further enhance the ECCM capability, the seeker of Mistral has a very narrow field of view to reject decoys and interference, but the seeker can tilt in the range of +/- 38 degrees. On the launcher, the missile runs up the gyro in 2 seconds, and total reaction time is 5 seconds. The all-aspect two-color (2-4 and 3-5 µm) cooled IR-seeker of Mistral is developed by SAT, and the missile adopts both laser proximity and impact fuzes.

A close-in weapon system based on Mistral is a six-missile version called Sadral, with a stabilized rapid-reload launcher that is fully automated. A CSEE developed fire control director is integrated to the launcher, consisted of TV camera and FLIR. Image produced by both directors appear on the screen in the operator console below deck, and the missiles are locked onto the target before being launched. A fully loaded Sadral launcher weighs 1080 kg, and the operator console weighs 280 kg. A two-missile unit installed on ships is called Simbad, and a newly launched four-missile version is called Tetral. An evolution of the Simbad is now proposed: Simbad RC. Both Tetral and Simbad RC are remote controlled from the ship's deck while the original Simbad is manually operated with a simple optical sight.


Mistral entered series production in 1989 and is now deployed by 37 armed forces of 25 countries (eight countries in Europe, eight in the Asia-Pacific, five in South America, three in the Middle East), including Austria, Belgium, the Brazilian Marine Corps, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, and Venezuela.

Combat performance[edit]

The Mistral's operational use encompasses the firing of more than 2,000 missiles, with a success rate of 95% during training[1]

Mistral missiles used by the Rwandan forces in the Second Congo War shot down a Zimbabwean Air Force BAe Hawk fighter on March 23, 1999.[2]

Submarine Air Defence Weapon[edit]

On 26 September 2012 DCNS at the company's Le Mourillon plant announced plans to design and build a submarine canister-based air defence weapon based on the Mistral. The concept is similar to the British Submarine Launched Airflight Missile developed by Vickers in the 1970s and tested on HMS Aeneas and three boats of the Gal-class.[3]


Map with Mistral operators in blue
Mistral missile launch during a joint French-Romanian military exercise. (Capu Midia firing range).

Current operators[edit]

 New Zealand
 South Korea

Former operators[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ es:MBDA Mistral
  2. ^ Cooper, Tom. "Zaire/DR.Congo 1980-2001". ACIG.org. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Janes International Defence Review Vol 45 France revives hard-kill submarine defences, page XIV
  4. ^ http://www.mil.ee/et/kaitsevagi/maavagi/1-jalavaebrigaad/ohutorjepataljon
  5. ^ Fiorenza, Nicholas (16 May 2017). "Belgium phases out Mistral". IHS Jane's 360. Brussels. Archived from the original on 16 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 

External links[edit]