The Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) unveiled the MPCV and the MBDA VL MICA in its facilities in Riyadh on 9 November. The photograph was taken during a visit by Major General Nayef bin Majid, the minister for the SANG, to the force’s Artillery and Air Defence Command in Riyadh. In social media were released imagery showing the Saudi Arabia National Guard appear to have acquired land-based Vertical Launch MICA (VL MICA) air defence system made by MBDA. In December 2012, the Saudi National Guard ordered 68 French Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle (MPCV) air-defense vehicles.
The MBDA MICA (Missile d’interception, de combat et d’autodéfense, “interception, combat and self-defence missile”) is an anti-air multi-target, all weather, fire-and-forget short and medium-range missile system. 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. The VL MICA is a weapon system with an unmatched self-defence and local area defence capability for a wide range of surface combatant vessels VL MICA is available with two state-of-the-art seekers (IR or RF). It can counter the most severe IRCM-ECM scenarios with a very high kill probability.
The MBDA Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle (MPCV) is an armoured high-mobility 4×4 vehicle designed to carry 4 to 10 people. The MPCV allows to carry the MBDA MISTRAL anti-aircraft weapon system in addition to a 20 mm gun in a remotely operated mount. The mission function of MPCV is to provide air defence units with a weapon system combining high mobility, crew protection and high fire power. The MPCV benefits from all the performance advantages offered by the MISTRAL missile, most specifically its Fire-and-Forget capability as well as its ease of operation, high reliability and its unrivalled kill probability.
The Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG, al-Haras al-Watani), also known as the “White Army”, is one of the three major branches of the military forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The national guard is under the administrative control of the Ministry of the National Guard, instead of the Ministry of Defence. The SANG is, by tradition, issued equipment not used by the regular military; it does not possess any tanks but has several thousand wheeled armored fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers. It possesses its own helicopters and light aircraft and all the remaining types of military hardware including artillery.