Egypt's "MEKO-A200" frigates will receive a new generation of French VL-MICA NG air defence missiles. The deal opens new horizons for the Egyptian Rafale fighters, writes Mohamed Al-Kenany.
Al-Kenany cites the French newspaper "La Tribune" which said on Wednesday that the French-European company for missile industries MBDA succeeded in getting the VL Mica NG surface-to-air missile aboard the German Mekos purchased by Egypt. An order that opens up new perspectives for the Rafale.
MBDA's offer includes its latest generation of MICA air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles "MICA Next Generation" (MICA NG). The company received the first part of the payment from the Egyptian side for the installation of equipment and launch equipment for missiles on board the Egyptian Miko frigates at the end of July, and the second part for the missiles themselves is still awaiting.
The new generation of MICA NG and VL-MICA NG surface-to-air missiles features the new Dual-Pulse Rocket Motor that enables flying speeds of up to 4 Mach and increases the range to 40 km instead of 20 km for the air defence version - which the Egyptian MICO frigates will get. On the other hand, the air combat version to be integrated on the Rafale in the coming years is expected to have a range of 100 km or more instead of 80 km for the MICA-EM, as well as 80 km or more instead of 60 km for the MICA-IR thermal version.
This generation also features advanced thermal and radar detectors, as the MICA-IR thermal release will have a Matrix Array sensor (an array of sensors instead of a single sensor as is the case in the current generation) to increase the accuracy and sensitivity to heat. The MICA-EM radar version will obtain an Active Electronically Scanned Array radar sensor to maximize the ability to grasp targets and resist obstruction and electronic noise.
This, and the new generation of MICA missiles in the air combat version enhances the chances of Egypt contracting an additional batch of Rafale fighters and opening new horizons for them with the Egyptian Air Force.