Europe’s leading missile manufacturer has released two updates in which it has coaxed a group of European nations into jointly acquiring Mistral 3 missiles, while also unveiling its new Land Cruise Missile (LCM).

Mistral 3 framework

France, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia and Hungary have signed a framework co-operation arrangement for the joint acquisition of the Mistral 3 ground-based air defence system on 19 June 2024.

France’s General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) leads the group alongside MBDA. The arrangement gives partner nations access to an improved acquisition process that meets their armed forces’ requirements. Following in the steps of the first five countries, several other states have also indicated their strong interest in this co-operation.

Furthermore, the framework aggregates the participants’ requests, and is part of the joint acquisition of defence capabilities, eligible for European Union funding under EDIRPA, including the strengthening of anti-aircraft defence systems and anti-missiles.

Mistral is a very short-range air defence missile system that can be used from vehicles, surface ships and helicopters, as well as in a portable configuration.

Mistral 3 is a fire-and-forget missile that features an infrared imaging seeker and possesses advanced image processing capabilities.

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With a length of less than two metres and a weight of less than 20 kilogrammes, it is easily operable and resistant to countermeasures.

It possesses the capability to effectively target and engage objects with minimal heat signatures, including unmanned aerial vehicles, turbojet-powered missiles and fast attack craft at distances up to 7.5 kilometres.


On 18 June 2024, at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, MBDA revealed its new LCM to the public for the first time.

LCM builds on all of MBDA’s expertise in the field of deep precision strike, and is based on the combat proven Naval Cruise Missile (NCM) in-service on French Navy frigates and attack submarines.

The LCM system constitutes a unique European sovereign solution for a deep strike ground-launched cruise missile system, designed, produced and assembled in Europe.

An artist’s impression of the future LCM variant in flight. Credit: MBDA.

MBDA suggests that customers operating NCM and LCMs will belong to an exclusive club of countries possessing very long-range deep precision strike capability from the surface of the sea as well as from the ground.

LCM will offer the same unique capabilities as the NCM, including: metric precision at very long range; high survivability when penetrating through enemy integrated air defence systems thanks to reduced radar cross section and terrain-following capability; and high lethality against targets.

It will also allow highly accurate synchronised time-on-target capability as already demonstrated by the simultaneous NCM strike from a frigate and a submersed submarine, performed by the French Navy with the support of DGA in April 2024. 

The LCM brings the capability to deter aggressive behaviours from peer adversaries by imposing a permanent and immediate threat against enemy high value assets.