Country of origin
Missile weight in container
Weight with launcher
Range of fire
Altitude of fire
The Mistral is a short-range air
defense weapon missile system. It was designed and manufactured in
France by Matra BAE Dynamics (now MBDA). It features a lightweight man
portable launcher, which can be operated by a single soldier.
The Mistral SAM can also be launched from armored vehicles, ships and
helicopters. More than 17 000 missiles have been produced. The
Mistral is used in around 25 countries.
Mistral Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) consists of a missile
canister, optical sighting device, identification friend-or-foe
interrogator system, infrared sight, and pedestal mount. All
of these components are carried by a team of 2 soldiers.
The Mistral missile is a fire-and-forget type weapon
with a high technology infrared homing seeker, which is fully
autonomous after firing. The missile is lightweight and is very
accurate. Maximum altitude is 3 000 m at a maximum speed of 930
m/s. The homing head has high sensitivity due to the incorporation of
matrix multiplier unit picking up infrared radiation in the 3-5
The missile has a 3 kg High Explosive
(HE) warhead with high density tungsten balls for increased damage.
It uses a laser
proximity detonation mechanism, that reduces the chance of premature
detonation. The missile also has a gyro-based proportional navigation,
that rejects flares. The seeker of Mistral also incorporates a narrow
field of view, thereby rejecting decoys interference.
Propulsion system of the missile includes a booster and a
sustainer motors. After leaving the canister the booster gives
missile an initial velocity of 40 m/s. Then the sustainer motor kicks in,
increasing the missile speed to the maximum.
The identification friend-or-foe interrogator is used to
determine if the incoming aircraft
is friend or foe.
The Mistral MANPADS has a high kill probability. After
firing more than 3 700 missiles of all variants during training it has a
of 92-95%. This missile also has increased maneuverability (30G) at extreme speed.
This air defense system also boasts increased flexibility during day
and night and is deployable in standalone or in coordinated mode.
The Mistral is
operable in severe weather conditions.
ALAMO is a
Mistral missile mount, used on light vehicles.
ALBI is a
mount with 2 Mistral missiles. It is used on wheeled, or lightly
ATLAS is an
improved ground-based mount with 2 Mistral missiles.
SANTAL is a
turret for armored vehicles with 6 Mistral missiles.
ATAM is an
air-to-air version of Mistral, intended for helicopters and
SADRAL is a
naval automated weapon system
with 6 Mistral missiles. It is fitted with TV camera and FLIR-based optics for targeting. The operator can
easily target enemy aircraft. Missiles are accurate and avoid
Simbad is a naval pedestal mount with 2 missiles. This system used
on ships. The Simbad RC is
the remotely-controlled version.
Tetral is a remotelly-controlled naval mount with 4 missiles. It
uses newer Mistral 2-missiles. This system has a thermal camera,
which gives it day and night capability.
PMMC is a
version of Mistral MANPADS or ATLAS mount with added radar and fire
an improved missile that is currently in production. It was first
publicly revealed in 2000. Production commenced during the same
year. The Mistral-2 has extended maximum range and improved
maneuverability. The missile is fully digital. It can also intercept helicopters with reduced IR
signature. The Mistral-2 missile is compatible with first generation
Aspic is a
firing post on a pedestal mount with 4 missiles. It uses newer
Mistral-2 missiles. This mount is designed for installation on
wheeled or tracked vehicles. The system can be operated by a single
Article by RAKESH NAIR
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