French army fires its first MBDA Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles

According to pictures released on Twitter, the French army fired the first Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles during live firing exercise from the Île du Levant, a French island in the Mediterranean off the coast of the Riviera, near Toulon, France.
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French Army fires first MBDA Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile from the Île du Levant. (Picture source MBDA)

The live firing of the Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile was conducted by the 11e RAMa (11th Marine Artillery Regiment). In the French Army, the launcher unit of the Mistral is mounted at the rear on a VLRA, a light wheeled tactical vehicle.

The Mistral is an infrared homing MANPADS manufactured by the European multinational company MBDA missile systems. The basic Mistral missile is used with a man-portable launch unit.

The Mistral MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense systems) is a highly portable, easy-to-use fire-and-forget VSHORAD (very short-range air defense) system featuring a Mistral missile launcher mounted on a tripod that can be operated from the ground, a vehicle, or a vessel. The easy to load launcher accommodates a single, ready-to-fire Mistral missile.

The launcher unit of the Mistral includes a full imaging seeker providing high resistance to IR (Infra-Red) countermeasures and the ability to engage low IR signature targets. The missile’s large 3kg warhead associated with a laser proximity fuse combine to provide an impressive kill probability.

The Mistral 3 missile, currently in service with the French forces, is an air defense missile equipped with an infrared imaging seeker and advanced image processing capabilities. This allows it to engage low thermal signature targets such as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), turbojet-powered missiles and fast craft at long range, while offering excellent resistance to countermeasures. It has a maximum firing range of 7 km with a flying speed of 930 m/s.

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