The Matra R422 missile is a semi-active electromagnetically guided surface-to-air missile designed by Matra (France) in the 1950s.
The R422 was developed by Matra as part of the French army’s SA20 program for long-range surface-to-air (SALP). It was then in competition with DEFA PARCA and SNCASE SE.4400. It had to be able to intercept bombers flying at an altitude between 3,000 m and 11,000 m and at a speed between Mach 0.5 and Mach 2.
Matra (an acronym for Mécanique Aviation Traction) was a French industrial conglomerate. During its years of operation, it was engaged in a wide range of business activities, primarily focused around automobiles, bicycles, aeronautics and weaponry.
Following the acquisition of vehicle manufacturer Automobiles René Bonnet, the company formed Matra Automobiles during the 1960s and made the Matra brand famous through the production of a range of racing cars and sports cars. Its car division worked closely with other vehicle manufacturers, most significantly Renault, prior to the decline and sale of Matra Automobiles during the early 2000s. In addition to road cars, Matra entered into a wide range of businesses, eventually diversifying into media, weaponry, aeronautics, automobiles, and music distribution.
Matra was at one point owned by the Floirat family. Throughout much of the company’s existence, French businessman Jean-Luc Lagardère served as the CEO of Matra. During 1988, Matra was privatised; Lagardère’s stake in the company grew considerably over the following years.
During 1994, Matra became a subsidiary of the Lagardère Group. During February 1999, the company’s defence arm Matra Hautes Technologies (MHT), which held the firm’s aerospace, defence and telecommunications interests, was merged with French aerospace conglomerate Aérospatiale to form Aérospatiale-Matra. Several former assets of Matra continue to operate under the Lagardère name.