Croatia orders French-made MBDA Mistral 3 air defense missile systems
On December 9, 2022, the Government of Croatia announced the purchase of MBDA Mistral 3 French-made air defense missile systems for an amount of €72 million. On November 21, 2021, Croatia had already chosen to buy 12 Rafale fighter aircraft from France.
The contract for the purchase of the Mistral 3 air defense missile systems was signed on Friday, December 9, 2022, by Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banozic and executives of MBDA France. The first deliveries are expected by the beginning of 2024.
In November 2021, France and Croatia signed the Croatian-French Strategic Partnership agreement to strengthen the defense collaboration between the two countries. Based on the acquisition of French Rafale fighter aircraft by Croatia, MBDA already approved a donation of Mistral short-range air defense missile systems to protect the Croatian airbase in which the Rafale aircraft will be stationed.
The Mistral is a MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense system) designed and manufactured by the international defense company MBDA.
The Mistral features a lightweight man-portable launcher. It can be easily transported and operated from the ground, a vehicle, a building or a ship. MISTRAL MANPADS is normally operated by a gunner and a crew commander. However, if the mission is carried out in a simple tactical environment, it can be operated by one single soldier.
The launcher unit of the Mistral includes a full imaging seeker providing high resistance to IR (Infra-Red) countermeasures and the ability to engage low IR signature targets. The missile’s large 3kg warhead associated with a laser proximity fuse combine to provide an impressive kill probability.
The Mistral 3 missile, currently in service with the French forces, is an air defense missile equipped with an infrared imaging seeker and advanced image processing capabilities. This allows it to engage low thermal signature targets such as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), turbojet-powered missiles and fast craft at long range while offering excellent resistance to countermeasures. It has a maximum firing range of 7 km with a flying speed of 930 m/s.