An air-launched MICA IR on a Dassault Rafale
|Type||Short/medium range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile|
|Place of origin||France|
|Used by||See Operators|
|Warhead||12 kg warhead|
|Proximity or direct impact|
|Engine||Solid-propellant rocket motor|
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 intended for use both by air platforms as individual missiles as well as ground units and ships, which can be equipped with the rapid fire MICA Vertical Launch System. It is fitted with a thrust vector control (TVC) system. It was developed from 1982 onward by Matra. The first trials occurred in 1991, and the missile was commissioned in 1996 to equip the Rafale and Mirage 2000. It is a replacement for both the Super 530, in the interception role, and the Magic II, in the dogfighting role.
On 11 June 2007, a MICA launched from a Rafale successfully demonstrated its over-the-shoulder capability by destroying a target behind the launch aircraft. The target was designated by another aircraft and coordinates were transmitted by Link 16.
There are two MICA variants; MICA RF has an active radar homing seeker and MICA IR has an imaging infra-red 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 Rafale, 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. On October 23, 2008, 15:30, at CELM, Biscarosse (Landes), a VL MICA missile successfully performed the last of its 14 test firings meaning it is now ready for mass production. The target drone was flying at low level, over the sea, 12 km away; despite this distance, MICA, equipped with an active radar seeker, locked on the target and shot it down.
Corvettes too small to have the big and costly Aster missile system are the most likely customers for the VL MICA-M, which offers similar capability as the Aster 15 but without its booster and PIF-PAF vectorial control.
While the VL MICA has an advertised range of 20 km, aerodynamic performance is significantly degraded at those ranges. From 0 to 7 km MICA has maneuverability of 50g, however by 12 km this is reduced to 30g as energy is lost.
- MICA RF
- MICA EM
- MICA IR
- VL MICA RF
- VL MICA IR
- VL MICA-M RF
- VL MICA-M IR
- MICA NG . Second generation of MICA designed against stealthy targets. Infrared seeker will use a matrix sensor providing greater sensitivity. The radio frequency seeker will use an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array).
- Egyptian Air Force: MICA EM/IR used on Rafale aircraft.
- Egyptian Navy: VL MICA-M installed on Gowind-class corvettes.
- French Air Force: used on Mirage 2000-5 and Rafale aircraft.
- French Navy: used on Rafale M aircraft.
- Georgian Air Force: VL MICA along with GroundMaster 200 and 400 radars from ThalesRaytheonSystems.
- Republic of Singapore Navy: Independence-class littoral mission vessel is equipped with the VL MICA-M
- Republic of China Air Force: 960 originally purchased to equip Mirage 2000-5 fighters of the RoCAF. The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology has been tasked with upgrading the missile in 2016.
- Royal Thai Army: VL MICA on truck-mounted box launcher
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