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Mistral Air Defence Missile

The Mistral is a fire-and-forget anti-aircraft missile used as a very low level air defence unit. It was designed in France as a lightweight shoulder-fired air defence weapon for the French infantry. Much of the weight of the unit is taken by the launcher post, leaving the operator to aim and fire. The solid-fuel rocket is pre-packed into a tube which is clipped onto the launcher post and sight. When the operator presses a switch, the gyroscope and infrared detector head are both activated and the rocket is fired. It has a reported accuracy under operational conditions of over 92%.

Mistral in use in NZ Mistral in use in NZ
Mistral unit being used by 16 Field Regiment, Kaipara Heads, 1999
(Images courtesy NZ Army Public Relations)

The Mistral appeared in 1988 and was purchased by the New Zealand Army in 1999. It has also been purchased by countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America and the Middle East.


Range: 5000 m (effective against helicopters at 4000 m)
Speed:1492 knots
Propulsion: Two stage solid propellant boost motor
Guidance: All-aspect infrared
Fuze: Laser proximity
Warhead: 3 kg HE tungsten ball
Launch weight: 18 kg (40 lb)
Length: 1.80 m
Diameter: 90 mm

June 2001

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