MBDA has been awarded a contract from the Egyptian Navy for the VL MICA NG (New Generation) air defence system to equip its Egyptian corvettes. The Egyptian Navy already equips its four Gowind class corvettes, recently procured from the French Naval Group shipyards, with systems from the VL MICA family. The dimensions of the MICA NG munition remain unchanged, allowing it to be integrated into existing VL MICA launchers. The existing missile data link mechanisms are compatible with the increased kinematic performance of the missiles, enabling current VL MICA systems to be upgraded to VL MICA NG standard by simple software updates.
Eric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: “This agreement proves the confidence of our Egyptian customer in our VL MICA family, which 15 armed forces around the world already use for the protection of their naval and land forces.”
Officially launched in October 2020, the VL MICA NG system is based on the integration of the MICA NG (New Generation) missile into the existing VL MICA point and close area air defence system. The VL MICA NG system offers improved capabilities to handle atypical targets (UAVs, small aircraft), as well as future threats characterised by increasingly low observable infrared and radio frequency signatures. Additionally, VL MICA NG will be able to intercept ‘conventional’ targets (aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles) at longer distances. Maintenance and ownership costs will be significantly reduced thanks to internal sensors that will monitor the status of the munition throughout its life cycle.
On the MICA NG, a new infrared seeker based on a matrix sensor will provide increased sensitivity, while a new radio frequency seeker with an active electronically scanned antenna (AESA) will allow for smart detection strategies. The lower volume of electronic components will enable the MICA NG to carry a larger load of propellant, significantly extending its range, and the new dual-pulse rocket motor will provide additional energy to the missile at the end of its flight, improving its manoeuvrability and its ability to intercept targets at long range. In surface-to-air mode, the MICA NG will be able to intercept targets over 40 km away.