MICA (missile)

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MICA P6230072.JPG
An air-launched MICA IR on a Dassault Rafale
TypeShort/medium range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile
Place of originFrance
Service history
In service1996–present
Used bySee Operators
Production history
ManufacturerMBDA France
Mass112 kg[1]
Length3.1 m[1]
Diameter160 mm[1]
Warhead12 kg warhead[1]
Proximity or direct impact[1]

EngineSolid-propellant rocket motor
  • Air-launched: 500 m–60 km [2][3][4]
  • Vertical-launched: 1–20 km[1]
Flight altitude
  • Vertical-launched: 0–9 km[5]
Maximum speed
  • Air-launched: Mach 4[6]
  • Vertical-launched: Mach 3[7]

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.[9]


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.[10]

VL MICA at the Salon du Bourget 2015

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.[7] 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.[11]

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.[12]


Mock-up of a MBDA MICA missile in Taiwan
  • 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).[13]


Map of MICA operators in blue

Current operators[edit]

  • Indian Air Force : 200 MICA-IR and 1000 MICA-RF missiles are integrated on upgraded Mirage-2000s and Rafales.[18] Indian Air Force successfully tested MICA missile from its aircraft Sukhoi Su-30MKI.[19]
 Saudi Arabia
 United Arab Emirates

Future operators[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f VLS MICA, MBDA, archived from the original on 2 December 2015, retrieved 24 November 2014.
  2. ^ "MICA Multi-mission Air-to-Air missile system". Archived from the original on 2008-05-19.
  3. ^ "Missile Air-Air Moyenne Portée" (in French). Archived from the original on 2011-07-12.
  4. ^ "Armement air-air" (in French). Archived from the original on 2018-08-25.
  5. ^ http://rbase.new-factoria.ru/missile/wobb/vl-mica/vl-mica.shtml
  6. ^ "MICA", Global Security, retrieved 24 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b Mica Vertical Launch Short-Range Air-Defence System, France, Army technology, retrieved 24 November 2014.[unreliable source?]
  8. ^ https://www.mbda-systems.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/VL-MICA-SEA.pdf
  9. ^ "Tir MICA depuis un Rafale F2: quand le chasseur devient la cible" [MICA shoot from a Rafale F2: when the hunter becomes the target] (in French). Armées. Archived from the original on 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  10. ^ de Briganti, Giovanni (2011-05-31). "Rafale in Combat: "War for Dummies"". Defense aerospace. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
  11. ^ "news section", A&D dic, 2008.
  12. ^ VL MICA (PDF), MBDA, archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2013, retrieved 24 November 2014.
  13. ^ https://www.mbda-systems.com/press-releases/mbda-to-develop-the-next-generation-of-the-mica-missile/
  14. ^ "Botswana acquired 300 million euros of French weaponry in 2016". Defence Web. 3 August 2017. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Armement : la France fait une belle percée en Géorgie", La Tribune.
  16. ^ "Georgia buying air defense systems without disclosing details of arms deals", Eurasia Daily.
  17. ^ "Paris Air Show 2015: Georgia signs major air-defence contract with Thales", Jane's, archived from the original on 2016-06-04CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link).
  18. ^ "Cabinet Committee clears 950 million Euro deal to procure 500 air-to-air missiles for Mirage 2000". The Economic Times. The Times of India. 2012-01-04.
  19. ^ "Su-30 MKI Destroys Aerial Target Using MICA Missile". India strategic.
  20. ^ "Le Maroc emprunte 192 M€ pour acheter des missiles sol-air".
  21. ^ Hunter, Jamie (20 June 2007), "Upgraded Moroccan Mirage marks first signing for Astrac partnership", FlightGlobal.
  22. ^ "Singapore selects VL Mica for new littoral mission vessels", Jane’s.
  23. ^ "Taiwan To Locally Upgrade MICA Missiles in ITS Mirage 2000 Jets". Defense World. 6 Dec 2016. Retrieved 6 Dec 2016.

External links[edit]