France Buys 1,300 Akeron, 329 Mistral Missiles

European weapons developer MBDA has received a contract to deliver 1,300 Akeron medium-range anti-tank missiles and 329 Mistral 3 short-range air defense systems to France.

The order, valued at approximately 300 million euros ($322.8 million), will see the first 200 Akerons shipped by the end of 2025.

MBDA wrote that work for the Mistrals will be facilitated under a joint anti-aircraft system acquisition framework signed by France, Estonia, Cyprus, Hungary, and Belgium in June 2023.

Once delivered, both missile packages will be distributed to the French Navy and Army to replenish their stockpiles.

Akeron and Mistral 3

The Akeron missile can destroy armored vehicles, light boats, and infrastructure with a distance of at least 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in either mobile or stationary positions.

This “fire and forget” system uses guidance and infrared homing for precise threat neutralization. It can be configured into a vehicle mount, man-portable, and sea-launched configurations.

Mistral 3
French Army fires MBDA Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile. Photo: MBDA

Meanwhile, the Mistral 3 can intercept airborne targets up to 8 kilometers (5 miles), including helicopters, combat jets, drones, transport aircraft, and cruise missiles.

Its lightweight design of less than 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and 2 meters (6.5 feet) offers maneuverability and rapid deployment against enemy assets.

Latest MBDA Missile Projects

MBDA and Swedish industry partner Saab signed a letter of intent earlier this month to boost Stockholm and Paris’ anti-tank and air defense developments.

Alongside the supply of fifth-generation Akeron anti-armor missiles, the consortium plans to modernize the system’s beyond-line-of-sight capability for modern warfare.

In October 2023, MBDA collaborated with South Korean company KAI to integrate Mistrals into Seoul’s upcoming Marine Attack Helicopter. The European company and Thales also agreed on a contract to supply the same missiles to Armenia.

In May, the French Army completed the maiden Akeron missile test from the service’s Tiger attack helicopter as part of the government’s initiative to upgrade its rotorcraft fleet.

Four months earlier, MBDA received an order from France to deliver 200 Akerons for the armed forces.

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