The French defense procurement agency, Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has awarded a contract, on Nov.6, to missile manufacturer MBDA for the acquisition of 567 MICA NG anti-air missiles for the French Armed Forces as well as the pyrotechnic modernization of 300 MICA missiles already in service.
Delivered from 2026, the MICA NG will equip the Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft operated by the French Air Force and the French Nay (Rafale M – carrier capable version of Rafale) and will replace the MICA air-to-air missiles in service since the early 2000s.
The MICA NG missiles are intended to renew the medium-range interception, close combat and self-defense capabilities of Rafale combat aircraft. The missiles will be carried by the Rafale aircraft from standard F3-R onwards.
The MICA NG (Missile d’Interception et de Combat Aérien Nouvelle Génération) missile is developed in two versions – infrared (IR) and electromagnetic (EM) – these innovative missiles in the areas of auto homing and propulsion help to maintain an operational advantage in the face of evolving threats.
The NG programme includes an extensive redesign of the current MICA family while keeping the same aerodynamics, mass and centre of gravity. This is done to minimise the amount of adaptation required to operate the new system with existing platforms and launchers. In addition to MBDA, the manufacturers involved in this project are Thales, Safran and Roxel, for the homing heads and propulsion.
The contract also provides for royalties, as well as a mechanism for reducing the price of missiles acquired by France according to the number of missiles produced for export.
The contract also includes the pyrotechnic modernization of the current MICA missile fleet to allow their use until 2030 by all aircraft that already carry or will carry MICA (Rafale (all standards), Mirage 2000-5 and Mirage 2000D fighter jets).