MBDA to develop the next generation of the MICA air-to-air missile and more

MBDA has received significant domestic orders in 2018, including a contract from the French DGA to develop the next generation of the MICA air-to-air missile.

MBDA to develop the next generation of the MICA air to air missile and more  MBDA Mica air-to-air missile (Picture source: Captain)

The MBDA MICA (Missile d’interception, de combat et d’autodéfense / Interception, combat and self-defense missile) is a multi-target, all weather, fire-and-forget, short- and medium-range missile system. It is intended for use both from air platforms as individual missiles, as well as by ground units and navy ships, which can be equipped with the rapid fire MICA Vertical Launch System. It is fitted with a thrust vector control (TVC) system.

There are two MICA variants: the MICA RF has an active radar homing seeker and the MICA IR has an infra-red imaging homing seeker. Both seekers are designed to filter out counter-measures such as chaff and decoy flares. A thrust vector control unit fitted to the rocket motor increases the missile’s agility. The missile is capable of lock-on after launch (LOAL), which means it is capable of engaging targets outside its seeker’s at-launch acquisition range. Mounted on the MBDA Rafale fighter, the MICA IR can provide IR imagery to the central data processing system, thus acting as an extra sensor.

MICA can also be employed as a short-range surface-to-air missile. It is available in a ground-based version, VL MICA, fired from a truck-mounted box launcher, and a naval version, VL MICA-M, fired from a ship-fitted vertical launch system.

Other projects for MBDA include the renewal of in-service support for the Aster missile across France, Italy and the UK, upgrade and maintenance work on Taurus in Spain, among others. Major export orders included the weaponisation of Eurofighter Typhoon II fighter aircraft and NH90 helicopters ordered by Qatar, as well as further export orders of Taurus, MMP and Mistral missiles.