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The Mistral missile with fins folded and deployed (scale is approximate)

The Mistral, developed by the French company Matra, is a French infrared homing air-to-air missile and represents a pinnacle in short-range air defense technology. This infrared homing surface-to-air missile is lauded for its precision and versatility. With a range of 6 km and an operational ceiling of 3,000 m, the Mistral can effectively neutralize a variety of aerial threats, from jets to nimble helicopters.

Internationally, the Mistral's prowess is recognized, with over 30 countries incorporating it into their arsenals. Its combat effectiveness has been proven in various global conflicts, cementing its status as a short-range air defense solution. Continuous upgrades have kept the Mistral relevant, enhancing its countermeasure resistance and integrating it with modern digital battlefield systems.

It was introduced in Update 1.87 "Locked On", and is a reliable air-to-air weapon that can be found on all high-tier French helicopters along with the Italian A129CBT and AH-129D, and the British Rooivalk Mk1F CSH.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

Missile characteristics
Mass 18 kg
Guidance IR
Aspect All-Aspects
Lock range in all-aspect 6 km
Launch range 6.5 km
Maximum speed 2.5 M
Maximum overload 12 G
Missile guidance time 20 secs
Explosive mass 1.78 kg TNTeq

Effective damage

The Mistral being a MANPADS type missile means that it is very light in nature (only 11.5 kg without fuel), which does not allow for a high explosive mass.

While this missile is usually really good at taking down helicopters in one shot, some planes like the SU-25 are often able to withstand one or even multiple hits from the Mistral before being crippled.

The Mistral however has higher explosive mass than its competition, a wider proximity fuse range of 1.5 m, and has slightly better manoeuvrability, making it easier to hit an fast-moving target.

Comparison with analogues

  • AIM-92A ATAS - The ATAS features better range, lower manoeuvrability and lacks a proximity fuse.
  • 9M39 Igla - The Igla is almost identical to the ATAS, but however features a 0.5 m proximity fuse. It is overall less reliable than the Mistral, but can hit targets at slightly further ranges.

The Mistral has the worst seeker out of all the missiles, however due to its FoV+ Seeker shutoff IRCCM of the missile, this difference can not be felt and the missile will feel exactly like the other helicopter-borne AAMs.

The Mistral however has the lowest seeker warm-up timer (only 2 seconds) compared to the 4-5 seconds of its competition, making it a slightly better choice at defending from enemy planes at close range.

Usage in battles

The Mistral air-to-air missile can only be found on helicopters, making it only usable in a limited amount of modes.

In Ground Realistic battles, the Mistral should be used as an offensive weapon rather than defensive. If fired at unsuspecting planes that are not dogfighting or turning, it generally has a very high hit chance. However if the enemy plane knows about your existence, and sees the Mistral incoming, the Mistral will have a hard time hitting the enemy. The Mistral should be fired from cover at around 4 km distance maximum to ensure the best chance of hitting.

In Arcade Assault or Heli Arcade EC, the Mistral can only be fired against bots. It has a very easy time taking down enemy AI planes in both modes. One mistral should be fired at one target. It is best to be fired head-on and from as long range as possible.

Pros and cons


  • 16G overload factor
  • Very good seeker, able to lock from 6 km in front aspect, and 11 km in rear aspect
  • Highest explosive mass compared to other MANPADS-type missiles
  • Very strong IRCCM, consisting of FoV gating and seeker shutoff, making it almost impossible to flare from in any situation
  • Very low seeker warm-up time of only 2 seconds


  • Lowest kinetic energy compared to competitors, making it slightly worse than its competition at longer ranges
  • Can easily miss enemy manoeuvring planes


The Mistral is a versatile and highly effective man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) developed by the French company Matra, now part of MBDA. Its development and operational history span several decades, reflecting significant advancements in both technology and tactical deployment in modern warfare.

Development History

The development of the Mistral missile began in the 1970s. France, recognizing the need for an effective short-range air defense system, initiated the project to replace older systems and to offer a more reliable and accurate solution against a wide range of targets, from fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to UAVs and cruise missiles.. The Mistral was designed with a very specific goal in mind: to provide a highly portable, easy-to-operate, and extremely accurate missile system for use by ground troops.

One of the key features of the Mistral is its infrared homing guidance system. Unlike older MANPADS that relied on simpler guidance mechanisms, the Mistral uses an advanced infrared seeker. This allows for greater accuracy and reduces the chances of missing the target due to operator error or evasive manoeuvres by the enemy aircraft.

Combat Usage

The combat history of the Mistral is extensive. Its success led to its wide export, and it is now in service with over 30 countries worldwide, and is/was used in different conflicts and exercises around the world. This widespread adoption is a testament to its effectiveness and reliability. The system has also been adapted for use on ships and vehicles, further extending its operational versatility.


The Mistral MANPADS is a prime example of a military technology that has adapted and evolved over time, maintaining its relevance in the ever-changing landscape of modern warfare. Its development, technical sophistication, and combat history underscore its significant role in global military strategy.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

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

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

AAM  AIM-54A Phoenix · AIM-54C Phoenix · ATAS (AIM-92)
Sparrow  AIM-7C · AIM-7D · AIM-7E · AIM-7E-2 · AIM-7F · AIM-7M
Sidewinder  AIM-9B · AIM-9C · AIM-9D · AIM-9E · AIM-9G · AIM-9H · AIM-9J · AIM-9L · AIM-9M · AIM-9P
AGM  AGM-22 · APKWS II (M151) · APKWS II (M282) · BGM-71D TOW-2
Bullpup  AGM-12B Bullpup · AGM-12C Bullpup
Hellfire  AGM-114B Hellfire · AGM-114K Hellfire II
Maverick  AGM-65A · AGM-65B · AGM-65D
TOW  BGM-71 · BGM-71A · BGM-71B · BGM-71C
SAM  FIM-92 Stinger · MIM-72 · MIM146
Naval SAM  RIM-24A
AAM  AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder · Flz Lwf 63/80
AGM  9M14M Malyutka · Flz Lwf LB 82 · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · PARS 3 LR
AShM  AS.34 Kormoran
SAM  Roland
AAM  9M39 Igla · R-3R · R-3S · R-13M1 · R-23R · R-23T · R-24R · R-24T · R-27ER(1) · R-27ET(1) · R-27R(1) · R-27T(1) · R-60 · R-60M · R-60MK · R-73(E)
AGM  9K127 Vikhr · 9M17M Falanga · 9M120 Ataka · 9M120-1 Ataka
  Kh-23M · Kh-25 · Kh-25ML · Kh-29L · Kh-29T · Kh-29TE · Kh-29TD · Kh-66 · S-25L
ATGM  3M7 · 9M14 · 9M113 Konkurs · 9M114 Shturm · 9M123 Khrizantema · 9M133 · 9M133FM3 · 9M133M-2
SAM  95Ya6 · 9M311 · 9M311-1M · 9M331 · 9M37M
Naval SAM  Volna-M
AAM  Fireflash · Firestreak · Red Top · Skyflash · Skyflash SuperTEMP · SRAAM
AGM  AS.12 · ZT-6 Mokopa
AShM  AJ.168
ATGM  BAe Swingfire · MILAN · MILAN 2 · ZT3
SAM  Starstreak
AGM  Ki-148 I-Go Model 1B
ATGM  Type 64 MAT · Type 79 Jyu-MAT
SAM  Type 81 SAM-1C · Type 91
AAM  PL-2 · PL-5B · PL-5C · PL-7 · PL-8 · TY-90
AGM  AKD-9 · AKD-10 · HJ-8A · HJ-8C · HJ-8E · HJ-8H
ATGM  302 · HJ-73 · HJ-73E · HJ-9 · QN201DD · QN502CDD
AAM  Aspide-1A
Naval AShM  Nettuno
SAM  Mistral SATCP
AAM  AA-20 Nord · Matra R511 · Matra R530 · Matra R530E · Matra Super 530D · Matra Super 530F · Matra R550 Magic 1 · Matra R550 Magic 2 · Mistral
AGM  9M14-2 Malyutka-2 · AS-20 Nord · AS-30 Nord · AS-30L Nord · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · Spike ER
SAM  Roland · VT1
AAM  RB24 · RB24J · RB71 · RB 74 · RB 74(M)
AGM  Rb05A · RB 53 Bantam · RB 55B Heli TOW · RB 55C Heli TOW · RB 75
ATGM  Rbs 55 · Rbs 56
SAM  Rbs 70
AAM  Shafrir · Shafrir 2 · Python 3
ATGM  Spike-MR
  AAM = Air-to-Air Missile   AGM = Air-to-Ground Missile   AShM = Anti-Ship Missile   ATGM = Anti-Tank Guided Missile (Ground mounts)   SAM = Surface-to-Air Missile