Aerial Warfare

MBDA Awarded Spanish Ministry of Defence Contract for Mistral 3 VSHORAD

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MBDA Awarded Spanish Ministry of Defence Contract for Mistral 3 VSHORAD

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MBDA Awarded Spanish Ministry of Defence Contract for Mistral 3 VSHORAD
MBDA Awarded Spanish Ministry of Defence Contract for Mistral 3 VSHORAD

Spain has inked a momentous deal valued at EUR 325 million with MBDA Spain, a subsidiary of the renowned European defense conglomerate MBDA. The accord, finalized in November, earmarks the procurement of 522 Mistral 3 very short-range air defense (VSHORAD) missiles, reinforcing Spain’s aerial defense arsenal. The procurement package not only encompasses the acquisition of the Mistral 3 missiles but also encompasses auxiliary equipment and crucial service provisions essential for effective utilization. According to local Spanish media outlets, the distribution plan for the acquired missiles encompasses deployment across multiple branches of the Spanish Armed Forces. The army, air force, and navy are slated to receive a proportionate allocation of these advanced air defense assets. This diversified distribution strategy underscores Spain’s comprehensive approach to safeguarding its airspace and maritime territories, showcasing a unified defense front across all military domains.

The Missile Transportable Anti-aérien Léger (English: Transportable lightweight anti-air missile), commonly called Mistral, is a French infrared homing short range air defense system manufactured by MBDA France (formerly by Matra Defence and then Matra BAe Dynamics). Based on the French SATCP (Sol-Air à Très Courte Portée), the portable missile later to become the Mistral began development in 1974. 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.

Mistral 3 very short-range air defense (VSHORAD) missiles
Mistral 3 (Mistral Atlas RC) very short-range air defense (VSHORAD) missiles. (Photo by MBDA)

Mistral is a short-range air defence (SHORAD) missile system that can be used from vehicles, surface ships, and helicopters, as well as in a portable configuration. When used in the MANPADS role the “Mistral” missile is transported in a transport and launch container (MPC) together with “friend or foe” interrogator, power source and tripod with its sighting devices. They are then to be operated by a pair of crew as commander and the shooter. There are also launch units that allow the missile to be fired from armoured vehicles, ships or helicopters. Mistral was initially deployed in 1988 for the first version (S1), 1997 for the second version (Mistral 2), and 2019 for the third version (Mistral 3). The Mistral 3 missile system represents a technologically advanced and highly adaptable solution tailored to counter a spectrum of aerial threats, including low-flying aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The acquisition of the Mistral 3 missiles stands as a testament to Spain’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a robust defense posture, ensuring the protection of its citizens and territorial sovereignty. This substantial investment in advanced air defense technology further solidifies Spain’s position as a key contributor to regional security and underscores its commitment to international defense cooperation, reinforcing its role as a responsible global stakeholder in fostering collective security measures. The procurement of the Mistral 3 missile system is poised to significantly elevate Spain’s defense capabilities, amplifying its readiness to respond to diverse airborne threats and safeguarding the nation’s interests across multiple operational domains. This strategic move underscores Spain’s steadfast commitment to continuously modernize and enhance its defense capabilities, fostering resilience and preparedness in an ever-evolving security landscape.

Mistral 3 (Mistral Atlas) very short-range air defense (VSHORAD) missiles
Mistral 3 (Mistral Atlas) very short-range air defense (VSHORAD) missiles. (Photo by MBDA)

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