MBDA to develop next-generation MICA missile

The French Defence Procurement Agency DGA has awarded MBDA a contract to develop the upgraded MICA NG missile, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2026.

French Air Force MICA NG.

French Air Force MICA NG.  (Photo by © MBDA)

The French Defence Procurement Agency DGA has awarded MBDA a contract to develop the next generation of the MICA air-to-air missile, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2026.

The MICA NG is intended to replace MICA missiles currently in operational service with the French armed forces and exported to 14 countries worldwide. The NG programme includes an extensive redesign of the current MICA family while keeping the same aerodynamics, mass and centre of gravity — to minimise the amount of adaptation required to operate the new system with existing platforms and launchers.

The Mica NG will continue to offer the option of two different seekers (infrared and radio frequency) and two launch modes (rail and ejection) in a single missile casing.

The technological enhancements are designed to provide the capability to counter future threats, including targets with reduced infrared and electromagnetic signatures, atypical targets (UAVs and small aircraft), as well as the threats normally countered by air-to-air missiles (combat aircraft and helicopters).

The infrared seeker will use a matrix sensor providing greater sensitivity. The radio frequency seeker will use an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Antenna), enabling smart detection strategies. The reduced volume of electronic components within Mica NG will allow it to carry a larger quantity of propellant, thereby significantly extending the range of the missile.

Utilising a new double-pulse rocket motor will also provide additional energy to the missile at the end of flight to improve manoeuvrability and the ability to intercept long-range targets. Lastly, the addition of internal sensors will allow the monitoring of the status of the weapon throughout its life (including during storage and transport), contributing to significantly reduced maintenance requirements and cost of ownership.

Source: By Air & Cosmos – International – 12 November 2018

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