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MBDA offers MICA-NG BVRAAM for Indian Air Force Rafale : Stiff competition from indigenous Astra Mk2 BVRAAM

Source : IgMp Bureau

MBDA offers MICA-NG BVRAAM for Indian Air Force Rafale : Stiff competition from indigenous Astra Mk2 BVRAAM

MBDA offers MICA-NG BVRAAM for Indian Air Force Rafale : Stiff competition from indigenous Astra Mk2 BVRAAM

The ever-evolving realm of aerial warfare is witnessing a transformative moment as MBDA, a prominent European missile manufacturer, unveils its groundbreaking MICA Next Generation (MICA-NG) missile, in the realm of Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missiles (BVRAAM), which is all set to redefine aerial warfare by offering a formidable upgrade for fighter jets like India’s French Dassault Rafale.

Bridging Technological Gaps: MICA-NG’s Game-Changing Features

In the current landscape, existing MICA missiles, available in infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF) variants, fall short with a maximum range of 80 km. The dominance of the ultra-long-range Meteor, boasting a whopping 200+ km reach, is tempered by its substantial cost. Enter MICA-NG, aiming to strike a balance by providing an impressive 160 km range at a more cost-effective price point.

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MICA RF and MICA IR BVRAAM variants

Propelling Progress: The Double-Pulse Rocket Motor Advantage

At the heart of MICA-NG’s prowess is its revolutionary double-pulse rocket motor. This cutting-edge technology injects an additional burst of energy in the missile’s final phase, elevating its maneuverability and interception capabilities for fast-moving targets at extended distances.

The Contenders: Astra Mk2 Challenges MICA-NG’s Dominance

While MICA-NG makes a bold entrance, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has its own contender in the BVRAAM arena—the Astra Mk1, boasting a range surpassing 110 km, outclassing the current MICA. The anticipation grows even further with the upcoming Astra Mk2, poised to match MICA-NG’s formidable 160 km range.

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Astra Mark 2 scale model (Image Credit: Livefist)

Strategic Choices: MICA-NG’s Appeal and Astra Mk2s Ascent

The appeal of MICA-NG is rooted in its harmonious blend of extended range, cost-effectiveness, and compatibility with existing Rafale jets. MBDA’s explicit commitment to prioritize nations, like India, already employing MICA adds another layer to its appeal.

As trials gear up and development progresses towards the 2026 completion, the BVRAAM landscape anticipates a new player. The question remains: Can MICA-NG secure its place, especially amidst India’s advancing missile capabilities? One certainty prevails—the skies are destined for heightened competition.

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