South Korean navy deploys Mistral

Sept. 1, 2011 at 11:40 AM

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The South Korean navy is planning to load man-portable Mistral surface-to-air missiles on all patrol boats for anti-aircraft and anti-ship defense.

"The Navy will load Mistrals onto patrol boats that are deployed in the Yellow Sea (near the Northern Limit Line with North Korea) starting the end of this month," said an official under South Korea's Naval Operations Command. "Eventually, all patrol boats will be equipped with such weapons."

The official also said it is the first time for the South Korean navy to install portable SAMs aboard ships.

The navy and the state-run Agency for Defense Development jointly conducted performance and evaluation tests earlier this year.

"The Naval Operations Command came up with an idea of loading Mistrals on patrol boats while seeking ways to reinforce firepower of patrol boats," the Ministry of Defense said.

Developed by French company MATRA, Mistral is a man-portable surface-to-air weapon guided with a hand-operated infrared tracking system. It has an effective range of 3.2 miles.

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