France’s F4 upgrade of the Dassault Rafale may represent the first steppingstone toward readying the fighter for the information age, but it also will pave the way for a new primary weapon.
The MBDA Mica NG (New Generation) is a radically reengineered version of the legacy Mica missile, which was developed in the 1980s and ’90s for the Rafale family as its air-to-air weapon.
Mica NG is planned to enter service as in 2026 on the Rafale
Missile HUMS will enable on-condition maintenance and reduced through-life cost
The Mica was built upon France’s extensive experience in developing air-to-air weapons for its home-grown combat aircraft through iterations of the Magic family of infrared (IR)-guided missiles and the R.530 family of semiactive radar-guided missiles.
The Mica replaced both of those weapons with a family of two missiles that used the same airframe but different seekers. It also has evolved into a ground- and ship-launched air defense weapon. Overall, 5,000 missiles have been produced, of which 3,500 have been exported.
“France adopted a double-duality approach with Mica,” say senior MBDA officials working on the program. Company policy prevents them from being named. “We are using a radar and IR seeker, but the missile is capable of engaging at short range and beyond visual range in one weapon.” (end of excerpt)
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