COLOGNE, Germany — Eyeing another export application of its Mistral missile, European missile-maker MBDA on Wednesday announced a successful test of the weapon against a small, fast-moving surface target.
The test, which the company said happened “at the end of 2018,” adds a new naval target set for the air-to-air weapon. Armies can already deploy the Mistral missile in a shoulder-fired MANPAD setup, and the weapon can be mounted on helicopters.
The ability to destroy fast boats falls in line with governments' fears of so-called asymmetric attacks. The term refers to guerilla-style tactics, employed by terrorist commandos or pirates, that prize speed and surprise over traditional firepower.
A remote-controlled, semi-rigid boat more than 3 kilometers off the coast served as a target in the demonstration. The Mistral was launched from a SIMBAD-RC automated naval turret, also made by MBDA, mounted on land for the test. Installed on a ship, the turret is remote-controlled, meaning sailors can fire the weapon without exposing themselves to danger on deck, according to the company.
MBDA said “a number of foreign delegations attended the demonstration firing,” hinting at hopes of winning new Mistral customers abroad. Roughly 30 countries already have the weapon in their inventories.