Air Defense: Estonia Fights In The French Style


September10, 2008:  Estonia selected the French Mistral portable surface-to-air missile system, instead of the U.S. Stinger. The 41 pound Mistral has a max range of 6.5 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 3,000 meters. The Mistral is a fire and forget system that uses a heat seeking sensor to home in on helicopters and jet aircraft. The 5.8 foot long missile is designed to be fired from vehicles, aircraft and ships. It's not as portable as the Stinger and the Russian SA-7 (and more recent models), as it uses a 40 pound launcher (that puts the operator in a swivel seat). But the Mistral has proved to be very reliable, and can be left on standby (ready for instant use) for long periods of time. Over 1,500 Mistrals have been fired in training and tests, with a 93 percent success rate.




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