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European missile developer MBDA has announced the development of the MICA NG (Next Generation) air-to-air missile. This new weapon system is slated to replace the legacy MICA missiles currently deployed by the French Air Force and Navy on Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighter jets.

The MICA NG is designed as a successor to the original MICA missiles, developed in the 1980s and 1990s. These missiles currently serve as the primary air-to-air weapon system for Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well.

The MICA NG boasts several improvements over its predecessor. A new dual-pulse motor promises increased range, while next-generation electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment will allow the missile to better counter enemy jamming attempts. Additionally, an improved datalink with the host aircraft will facilitate more effective kills.

While the IAF currently utilizes the MICA system on its Mirage 2000 and Rafale jets, it has opted for MBDA’s ASRAAM (Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile) under the New Generation Close Combat Missile program for its upgraded Jaguar fleet.

Looking ahead, the IAF’s future fighter jet, the MWF-Tejas Mk2, is expected to be operational by 2028-30. This indigenous aircraft is likely to be equipped with a powerful AESA radar from UTTAM. This opens doors for integration of several advanced missiles:

With this potential arsenal at its disposal, the IAF’s MWF-Tejas Mk2 will be well-equipped to handle future air combat scenarios. The MICA NG, along with other modern weapon systems, will ensure the IAF maintains a cutting-edge air defense capability.