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10:33 AM, November 12, 2018
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MICA missile on Rafale fighter jet (Image: MBDA)

MBDA has won a contract to develop next generation MICA missile, MICA NG from the French Defence Procurement Agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2026.

The MICA NG will be available to arm the current and future versions of the Rafale combat aircraft, the company said in a statement last Friday.

MICA NG is intended as the replacement for the MICA missiles currently in operational service with the French armed forces and exported to 14 countries worldwide. The NG programme includes a redesign of the current MICA family while keeping the same aerodynamics, mass and centre of gravity.

According to the company, this is done to minimise the amount of adaptation required to operate the new system with existing platforms and launchers. The concept has the option of two different seekers (infrared and radio frequency) and two launch modes (rail and ejection) in a single missile casing.

The MICA NG will counter 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).

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

The missile will use a double-pulse rocket motor to provide additional energy to the missile at the end of its flight to improve manoeuvrability and the ability to intercept targets at long range.

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