The Minister for the Armed Forces for France, and his counterparts from Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia and Hungary, on Monday 19 June 2023 signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the joint acquisition of the Mistral 3 ground-based air defence system.
Led by the French Ministry for the Armed Forces with support from MBDA, the intent is to implement a joint acquisition of Mistral 3 by the French procurement agency Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) on behalf of all the partner countries.
Such an initiative is a concrete illustration of the European Council’s willingness, in the current geostrategic context at the borders of Europe, to reinforce through cooperation the defence capabilities of the European Union (EU) and its member states.
A joint acquisition could benefit from the EU support and allow scale economies to be made so as to incentivise Member States to procure defence products jointly while reinforcing the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) competitiveness.
Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “Cooperation is at the very heart of MBDA’s DNA, and I firmly believe that we are stronger together. This signature, and our plans to double Mistral annual production capacity, underlines the company’s continuous commitment to projects giving substance to the European defence agenda.”
Mistral 3, currently in service with the French armed forces, is an air defence missile equipped with an infrared imaging seeker and advanced image processing capabilities. It can engage low thermal signature targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), turbojet-powered missiles and fast attack craft at long range. It also offers excellent resistance to countermeasures.