Air Defense: Hungary Upgrades Mistral


October 19, 2014: Hungary is upgrading its Mistral M2 surface-to-air missiles and buying some of the new MP3 versions. Mistral is a lightweight missiles that now uses a new optical day/night sight and a lightweight launcher. The Mistral is similar as the American Stinger but not as portable. Singer is a 14.3 kg (31.5 pound) shoulder fired anti-aircraft system that fires its 10.1 kg (22.2 pound) missile out to 8,000 meters. Both systems have similar resistance to countermeasures and a warhead of about the same size (2-3 kg/4.4-6.6 pounds). Mistral uses various launchers (weighing from 22.5 kg/49.5 pound to a ton) to fire one or more 19.5 kg (43 pound) missiles out to 6,000 meters. Mistral entered service in 1989.

In the late 1990s Hungary received the first batch of Mistral M2 air defense missile systems from the French manufacturer. This $100 million purchase included 45 ATLAS launchers (each mounting two Mistral-2 missiles) and nine Mistral Coordination Posts. The Hungarians were the first customer for the Mistral Coordination Post, which includes an Oerlikon Italian radar; each post can control numerous air defense stations including Mistral and others. Hungary mounted the 45 launchers and 9 command posts on Mercedes 4x4 trucks. A second batch of launchers and Coordination Posts were mounted on Russian-built BTR-80 eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers.

Mistral is used by ground forces and navies in 27 countries. Currently about 3,000 missiles a year are being made. While not as portable as missiles like Stinger and the Russian Igla Mistral has proved reliable and accurate.



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