Naval Weapons

MBDA validates dual-role capability for Mistral missile

14 January 2019

MBDA conducted a demonstration of a third-generation variant of its Mistral short-range surface-to-air missile in an anti-surface role against a FIAC representative threat in late 2018. Source: MBDA

MBDA has validated a dual-role capability with the latest version of its Mistral very short-range surface-to-air missile with a demonstration of a surface-to-surface engagement with effector at an undisclosed range off the Mediterranean coast in late 2018.

In the course of the company-funded firing trials, a Mistral missile launched from a land-based SIMBAD RC turret engaged a remote-controlled representative fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) threat 3 km off the coast. According to MBDA, "The scenario was intended to be representative of the self-protection of a vessel against an asymmetric threat."

The SIMBAD-RC is a remotely controlled turret designed to address market requirements for a lightweight, automated, close-in defence capability against air and surface threats out to a maximum range of 6.5 km.

Configured with two lock-on before launch (LOBL) Mistral infrared-homing missiles, the baseline SIMBAD-RC architecture comprises one or two lightweight, gyro-stabilised turrets equipped with a Sagem MATIS SP mid-waveband thermal camera and an optional large field-of-view day camera. In addition, the system includes a dedicated compact terminal, known as SMU-RC, which can manage up to two turrets (interfacing with the ship's combat system or surveillance sensors). The turret is controlled remotely from a compact below-deck SMU-RC firing terminal. A single operator can control two SIMBAD-RC launcher systems from this station.

Jane's understands that the missile variant used in the late 2018 demonstration was a third-generation Mistral variant, unofficially designated 'Mistral 3'. MBDA has not officially acknowledged a specific 'Mistral 3' designation, referring instead to the Mistral RMV (Rénovation à Mie-Vie: mid-life renovation) - a programme launched in 2008 to replace the Mistral 2 in French Army and Navy service - as its latest iteration of the Mistral surface-to-air missile.

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