MBDA has received a contract from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the integration of the Mistral (Missile Transportable Anti-aérien Léger, Transportable lightweight anti-air missile) ATAM anti-air missile system on the Korean Marine Attack Helicopter (KMAH). Mistral ATAM is based on the Mistral short-range anti-air missile, known for its fire-and-forget engagement mode, ease of operation and unrivalled kill probability. The ATAM system includes two launchers per helicopter, each carrying two missiles. The system is based on two launchers, each bearing two missiles and can be connected to the helicopter’s combat system, when mounted on combat helicopters, or through simplified control equipment if installed on multi-purpose helicopters.
Mistral ATAM ensures a large off-boresight capability, together with the ability to aim the missile seeker very precisely at a given target. The missile has a shaped trajectory in order to intercept targets top-down or at long range, the crew can also select the proximity fuze mode. Mistral ATAM is currently the only helicopter mounted air-to-air missile in full operational service. Mistral ATAM is operated by the French Army Aviation on the Gazelle and is also in service on the Tiger attack helicopter. Integration onto India’s HAL Rudra helicopter is underway.
The system can be operated within the whole flight envelope of the launch helicopter, at speeds of up to 200 knots and at altitudes exceeding 15,000 ft.
Man-portable Mistral air defence systems are also in-service with Republic of Korea’s Armed Forces. In both cases, it is characterised by simplicity of operation, a very low crew workload and a high level of performance. The Mistral is a French infrared homing short range air defense system manufactured by MBDA France (formerly by Matra Defence and then Matra BAe Dynamics). The Mistral entered production in 1989 and is now deployed in various forms by 37 armed forces of 25 countries including Austria, the Brazilian Marine Corps, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Morocco, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, and Venezuela. Norway donated their complete stock of Mistral missiles in 2022 to Ukraine.
Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA said: “We are proud to be partnered again with Korea Aerospace Industries to arm a Korean military aircraft. This contract cements Mistral ATAM’s place as a world’s leading helicopter launched anti-air missile system.”
MBDA is a world leader in missile systems, with over 60 years’ experience developing cutting-edge missiles in cross-border partnerships that makes the company a natural partner to accelerate domestic development programmes. MBDA and KAI are also working together to integrate the Meteor beyond visual range missile onto the KF-21 Boromae fighter aircraft.