European countries to jointly acquire over 1,500 Mistral air defense missiles

MBDA

France, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia and Hungary have signed an agreement with MBDA to jointly acquire at least 1,500 Mistral 3 ground-based air defense systems. 

The arrangement is spearheaded by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA), and the European Union could support it through the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through Common Procurement Act (EDIRPA), adopted in October 2023.  

According to MBDA, several other countries are strongly interested in joining this cooperation. 

“This cooperation is a major step forward in strengthening the defence capabilities of the European Union and its member states, contributing to collective security and sovereignty,” Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, commented. “This agreement will drive efficiencies and enhance the resilience of the European defence industrial base.” 

The Mistral 3, currently in service with the French Army and other forces worldwide, is a short-range air defense (SHORAD) missile featuring a fire-and-forget infrared homing device and advanced image processing capabilities.

It can engage targets at ranges of up to 8,000 meters (about five miles) and altitudes of 6,000 meters (about four miles), traveling at supersonic speeds of 930 meters (3,000 feet) per second. 

“Known for its high success rate of over 96% and exceptional reliability, it can engage low thermal signature targets such as drones, turbojet-powered missiles, and fast attack craft from long distances,” MBDA explained. 

Throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, France, Belgium, and Estonia, among others, have supplied Ukraine with Mistral man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS).   

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