MBDA demonstrates VL MICA in coastal defence role


MBDA’s VL MICA missile has proved it can perform coastal defence work. The missile was this month for the first time deployed in a ground-to-air area defence configuration and intercepted a low signature target flying just a few metres above the surface of the sea.

The test firing was carried out on July 8 at the DGA (Delegation Generale pour l’Armement) Centre d’Essais de Lancement de Missiles (CELM) test range in Biscarosse in south-west France.

Following its firing from a vertical launcher, the MICA missile registered a direct hit against the intended target flying at a range of approximately 15km. The intercepted target was representative of a missile flying at about 10 metres above the surface of the sea, MBDA says in a statement.

The purpose of this test, jointly organised by the DGA, the French Air Force and MBDA under the aegis of the SALVE programme (Sol-Air a Lancement Vertical – or Ground-Air Vertical Launch), was to show the VL MICA system’s capabilities in protecting littoral zones against an enemy attack launched from the sea.

The missile used for the test was equipped with an imaging infrared seeker and was fired from a vertical launcher in which MICA was housed in its CLA (Conteneur Lanceur Autonome – or Autonomous Launch Container) which will equip both the ground and naval versions of the system.

The CLA was installed in a vertical launch vehicle which was operated under the control of a system command module (Tactical Operation Centre). A distance of 6km separated the two elements, replicating the operational deployment of VL MICA in a ground-to-air, area defence configuration.

Representing the 15th consecutive successful firing of MICA from a vertical launcher, this latest firing demonstrates the great reliability of the missile as well as its high precision guidance.

The intercept confirmed VL MICA’s unique capabilities such as its terminal guidance mode, its seekers – both infrared and electromagnetic – and its proximity fuze in intercepting low signature targets at very low altitudes, even above the surface of the sea.

The presence of six foreign delegations during the test firing attests to the high level of interest inspired by this innovative weapon system. VL MICA has already been ordered in its naval configuration by two export clients and by one other in its ground variant.