Air defense / MANPADS / Mistral

Mistral

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Man portable SAM system

  • ORIGIN
    France

  • NICKNAMES
    SATCP (development name)

  • DESIGNED
    1979 - 1988

  • DESIGNER
    MBDA

  • PRODUCTION
    1990 - 2000 (Mistral 1)
    2000 - present (Mistral 2)

  • PRODUCERS
    France - MBDA

  • QUANTITY
    Over 15.000

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    High missile speed
    Good range
    Resistant to countermeasures
    No grip stock available

Introduction

The Mistral is a man portable SAM system of French origin. The Mistral is the result of the SATCP programme which was started in the late 1970's. SATCP stands for Sol-Air à Très Courte Portée, which is French for short range surface to air. The Mistral is a very capable system and will remain in use for many years to come.

Layout

The Mistral surfrace to air missile has a conventional layout. It uses an infra-red passive homing seeker with a contact and active laser fuse. The seeker has a narrow field of view in order to avoid decoys. Upon launch four fins at the front of the missile will fold out and are used for steering. The solid fuel motor is at the rear of the missiles. A small ejection motor is mounted at the end an provides an initial boost. The Mistral can be launched from ground mounts, naval mounts and helicopters.

Firepower

The Mistral is a supersonic missile with a maximum speed of about Mach 2.5. It can engage aircraft out to 6 km and at altitudes of up to 3 km. Due to its speed and range the Mistral is a threat to supersonic aircraft such as fighter jets. The quality of the seeker makes it hard to decoy and allows it to be used against targets with low heat signature, such as helicopters with reduced IR signatures. The single shot kill probability is claimed to be very high.

Mobility

Unlike most MANPADS the Mistral is not available with a gripstock launcher. The smallest launcher is the tripod mounted SATCP launcher, which can be carried in the field but is to be transported by vehicle. Many Mistral missiles are used in the various vehicle mounted launchers available. This makes the Mistral a very mobile system.

Users

The main user of the Mistral is France. Additionally it has been widely exported, mainly to Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia. The Mistral is also widely used on naval vessels and probably is the most common MANPADS in naval use.

Variants

Mistral missile

The Mistral surfrace to air missile has a conventional layout. It uses an infra-red passive homing seeker with a contact and active laser fuse. Upon launch four fins at the front of the missile will fold out and are used for steering. The solid fuel motor is at the rear of the missiles. A small ejection motor is mounted at the end an provides an initial boost. The Mistral 1 is the original model and the Mistral 2 is an improved model that replaced the original version on the production line. It features an improved, digital seeker and uses lighter components, making the missile faster.

TypeSurface to air missile
Diameter93 mm body, 0.2 m wingspan
Length1.86 m
Weight19 kg
GuidanceInfra-red passive homing
WarheadHE-Frag, 3 kg with 1 kg HE, impact and active laser proximity fuze
PropulsionSingle-stage solid propellant rocket motor plus ejection motor
SpeedMach 2.5
Range0.3 to 5 km effective
Altitude5 m to 3 km
Engagement envelope?
RemarksContainer is 2 m and 24 kg
TypeSurface to air missile
Diameter93 mm body, 0.2 m wingspan
Length1.86 m
Weight<19kg
GuidanceInfra-red passive homing with digital seeker
WarheadHE-Frag, 3 kg with 1 kg HE, impact and active laser proximity fuze
PropulsionSingle-stage solid propellant rocket motor plus ejection motor
SpeedMach 2.6+
Range? to 6 km effective
Altitude5 m to 3 km+
Engagement envelope?
RemarksContainer is 2 m and 24 kg

SATCP

The SATCP is the original launcher for the Mistral missile. The SATCP is the smallest and most portable launcher available for the Mistral. There is no gripstock launcher ulike most other MANPADS. The SATCP is a pedestal mounted launcher resting on a tripod and has a seat and controls for the operator on the left. SATCP stands for Sol-Air à Très Courte Portée, which is French for short range surface to air. SATCP was also the program in which the Mistral was developed and the name stuck to the single round launcher.

ATLAS

The ATLAS is a light weight two round launcher that operates in a similar way as the single round SATCP. The advantage of the ATLAS are the two rounds that are ready to fire. ATLAS stands for Affût Terrestre Léger Anti-Saturation, which is French for light ground mount against air strikes, but MBDA uses Advanced Twin Launcher Anti-air Strikes as English translation.

ALBI

The ALBI is a derivative of the ATLAS launcher. Instead of being a pedestal mounted two round launcher it is integrated as a turret system for use on armored vehicles. It functions in the same way as the ATLAS. The ALBI can be mounted on a variety of vehicles, including the VBL light armored vehicle.

ASPIC

The ASPIC is a remote controlled pedestal mounted launcher for use on vehicles. It is fitted with an optronics package in the middle and two Mistral missiles on each side. The ASPIC is fully automated and includes day and night cameras and automatic target tracking. The high level of automation decreases the reaction time and increases the chance to hit fast moving targets. Besides the Mistral missile the ASPIC can be integrated with most Western MANPADS, although all sales thus far have been with the Mistral missile.

ATAM

The Air-To-Air Mistral, or ATAM, is a system that allows the Mistral to be fired from helicopters. It has been installed on the Gazelle in French service. It consists of two-round groups of missiles mounted on the pylons and integration with the TH-200 gyro stabilized roof mounted sight. In French service this system is known as the AATCP: Air-Air Très Courte Portée which is French for air to air very short range. The launch envelope is from ground level to 5 km altitude and 0.6 km to 5.5 km range. The speed of the launch helicopter may vary from hovering to 240 km/h.

SIMBAD

The SIMBAD is a modification of the ATLAS two round launcher for naval use. The SIMBAD is a pedestal mounted two round launcher. The operator is standing and may lean into a shoulder rest. This setup allows the operator to easily counter the movement of the ships while acquiring the target. As the operator is standing the sight unit has been moved to the rear and is positioned higher than on the ATLAS. The SIMBAD can be easily fitted at old mounting locations for the 20mm Oerlikon autocannon.

TETRAL

The TETRAL is a new naval mount for use with the new Mistral 2 missile. It is smaller than the six round SADRAL and easier to mount on smaller ships. The TETRAL is remotely operated and has four ready to fire missiles.

SADRAL

The SADRAL is a pedestal mounted six round launcher for naval use. SADRAL stands for Système d'AutoDéfense Rapprochée Anti-aérienne Légère, which is French for light short range anti-aircraft self-defence system. The SADRAL is a remotely operated system with three missiles on each side and optronics on top.

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