The Norwegian government has previously provided 4 000 M72 light anti-armor weapons as well as helmets and flak jackets to Ukraine. Several other countries are offering weapons and military-grade equipment.
Norway will now donate approximately 100 Mistral air defense missiles and a number of launchers. The Mistral air defense system is being used on Navy minesweepers and corvettes. The system was slated to be phased out within a few years. Hence, the impact of Norway’s readiness will not be significantly reduced by providing the system to Ukraine.
The Mistral is a MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense systems) missile designed and manufactured by the defense company MBDA. The whole air defense weapon system consists of a lightweight man-portable launcher and one or two missiles ready to fire.
The MISTRAL launcher unit is normally operated by a gunner and a crew commander. However, if the mission is carried out in a simple tactical environment, it can be operated by one single soldier. It can be also operated autonomously, thanks to its latest generation thermal sight and its IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe), or otherwise integrated within a fire control and coordination system. The IFF is an identification system designed for command and control. It uses a transponder that listens for an interrogation signal and then sends a response that identifies the broadcaster.
The Mistral missile is fitted with a 3 kg HE (High Explosive) warhead with high-density tungsten balls for increased damage. It uses a laser proximity detonation mechanism, that reduces the chance of premature detonation. It can be used to destroy aerial targets such as UAVs, missiles, aircraft, and helicopters. It has a maximum firing range of 6 km at an altitude of 3 km.