MBDA has been awarded a contract from the French DGA defence procurement body to develop a next-generation version of its MICA air-to-air missile.
Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2026, says the company, and will be used to arm both current and future versions of the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft.
Improvements over the current generation of the munition include an ability to attack atypical threats, such as unmanned air vehicles and helicopters, and those with reduced infrared or electromagnetic signatures.
Its infrared seeker will use a new sensor for greater sensitivity, while the radio-frequency seeker will employ an active electronically scanned antenna.
Fewer electronic components inside the missile will enable more propellant to be carried, extending its range, while a new rocket motor will enhance manoeuvrability at the end of its flight, says MBDA.
No changes to the MICA's mass, centre of gravity nor aerodynamics are foreseen, the company says.