Cyprus has ordered French surface-to-air Mistral missiles as well as Exocet anti-ship missiles in a €240 million arms deal, the Defence Ministry confirmed on Friday.
French newspaper La Tribune reported the missile deal on Thursday and the Defence Ministry confirmed the deal, but said it could not go into any detail due to the sensitive nature of “national security.”
It said the missile purchase was “part of the upgrade of the National Guard’s operational capability” and “contracts were signed related to upgrading specific weapons systems at an estimated cost of €240 million.”
According to La Tribune, Cyprus signed contracts with the European multinational MBDA for the supply of Mistral and Exocet missiles.
The Exocet (French pronunciation: [ɛɡzɔsɛ]; French for “flying fish”) is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
Exocet are listed as anti-ship missiles and Mistral are surface-to-air missiles. MBDA reportedly works with over 90 armed forces worldwide.
The arms sale comes at a time of heightened tension in the Mediterranean over natural gas reserves.
Last week the French aircraft carrier ‘Charles de Gaulle’ sailed through Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) block 8, close to the Turkish drill ship ‘Yavuz’. Block 8 has been licensed for drilling by Italy’s ENI and France’s Total.