Matra R550 Magic 1

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This page is about the French air-to-air missile Matra R550 Magic 1. For the other version, see Matra R550 Magic 2.


The Matra R550 Magic 1 missile (scale is approximate)

The Matra R550 Magic 1 is a French IR homing air-to-air missile that was intended to replace the AIM-9s in French Air Force service. It was introduced in update "Starfighters".

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

Missile characteristics
Mass 89 kg
Guidance IR
Aspect Rear-Aspect
Lock range in rear-aspect 5.5 km
Launch range 10 km
Maximum speed 3 M
Maximum overload 35 G
Missile guidance time 25 secs
Explosive mass (TNT eq.) 9.6 kg

The Matra R550 Magic 1 is a very capable missile, with a 35 G maximum overload, which makes it a very deadly missile at top-tier when used correctly. The Matra Magic 1 is also a very light missile, with only two seconds of boost time. The missiles come equipped with large and numerous control surfaces, ensuring high manoeuvrability throughout the flight time. The price of these big control surfaces is a high drag, with the weapon decelerating quickly after the end of boost time, limiting the range of the missiles.

The weapon enable time is 0.5 seconds, meaning the missile will accelerate straight for half a second before starting manoeuvres.

Effective damage

Having a warhead containing 6 kg of HBX explosive (9.6 kg TNT equivalent), it all but guarantees the destruction of enemy vital parts such as engine, tail section, wings, etc. The explosive charge is generally enough to deal with any attacker with a single hit. Still, the proximity fuse is very sensible, and the missile can explode far enough from the target, only provoking a critical hit.

Comparison with analogues

  • R-60 - A soviet short-range IR missile with excellent overload performance but poor booster capability

Usage in battles

The Magic is mounted on the Mirage series of aircraft, being extremely well integrated, and slavable to the aircraft's radar. Meaning that if the Mirage's Cyrano radar is locked on an enemy aircraft, enabling the missile seeker will immediately activate the missile seeker's gimbals, and the seeker will orientate itself in the direction of the locked target. Allowing a certain capability of "off-boresight" shooting of the missile. This fact is important in close-range engagements and dogfights.

Overall, the Matra 550 Magic missile is to be used as a close encounter platform. Firing the weapon on an enemy at a distance of more than 2 km yields poor results, especially if the target is fleeing at high speed. Under the 1.5 km mark, the hit is nearly assured. Note that the use of flares is an effective countermeasure against the Magic. Concerning off-boresight shoots, sending away the weapon over 1-1.2 km is not advised, because the trajectory correction needed for an off-boresight shoot is higher that a standard shoot.

Pros and cons


  • Excellent overload of 35G and high track rate
  • Can be slaved with the radar and IRST
  • Powerful booster and with a short burning time, pulls almost instantly and aggressively out of the rail


  • Pretty vulnerable to countermeasures
  • As it have a short burning time and high manoeuvrability, has a fairly short range compared to other air-to-air missiles
  • Doesn´t have the All-Aspect capability as the Matra R550 Magic 2 does, not being practical in head-ons or side-aspect shots
  • Every aircraft that has the R.550 Magic are severely limited to only 2 missiles


Being a direct competitor of the US-made AIM-9s in French service, Matra (now part of Airbus SE) developed a new IR AAM for French jets in 1968, with additional control surfaces for better manoeuvrability in combat; the new missile now known as the R.550 Magic was first tested in January 1972 on a Gloster Meteor-converted testbed and finally made it into service in 1975.

The missile has been exported to many countries operating French jets; China also acquired some examples of it and built a reverse-engineered version known as the PL-7. The more capable Magic 2 was introduced in 1986.



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the article about the variant of the weapon;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.

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