Air Defense: Air and Space Force’s Grodale NG Replaced by VL MICA Systems?

In October, and the question was taken from Air and Space Force appropriations [AAE] Crotale NG short-range air defense systems to supply Ukrainian forces. They will be “particularly useful in the war against drones and against aerial bombardment,” argued Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu.

“We have twelve people [des systèmes Crotale] But it is a device which will be phased out and replaced by mambas, so it will not create a shortage for the French army. The target is to complete this process within two months,” the minister said.

However, Grodale is Mamba instead of NG [ou SAMP/T, pour Sol-Air Moyenne Portée / Terrestre] This may come as a surprise since these two systems are fundamentally different.

Indeed, the first one is intended to counter the threat of low and very low altitude aircraft thanks to its Mirador IV Doppler and its eight VT1 missiles. Second, its Aster 30 missiles are capable of intercepting any aircraft or missile beyond a range of 120 km.AAE has only eight batteries.

Since then Mr. Leghorn Confident Two Crotale NG were finally handed over to Ukraine.

Be that as it may, it is now a question of strengthening the mechanisms dedicated to surface-air defense and replacing the AAE’s Grodale NG. This was announced by the Army Chief. [CEMA]General Thierry Burghardt during a Senate hearing on October 19.

“For twenty years, we operated in theaters where there was no air threat, so we were in favor of other areas. These choices were consistent with the context of the engagement,” General Burghardt acknowledged. .

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In addition, CEMA continued, “the threat of drones is also taken into account in multi-layered ground-to-air defense” and “the devices are very diverse, from multi-tons to nanodrones, and their models are evolving very quickly. So we need to be proactive.”

It should be noted that several anti-drone programs such as MILAD have been launched [Moyens mobiles de Lutte Anti-Drones]l’ARLAD [adaptation réactive de lutte anti-drone]BASSALT, Parade Market [Protection déployable modulaire anti-drones] or the Helma-B laser system developed by CILAS.

In addition, the MAMBA system will be modernized with the “ASTER 30 B1 NT” missile and the new generation “Ground Fire 300” multifunction ground radar, developed by Thales. Finally, “we plan to replace the Crotale with the MICA VL interceptor, combat and defense missile,” said General Burghardt. “All these are taken into account in LPM [Loi de programmation militaire, nldr] Preparations are also underway for what is to come,” he noted.

The VL MICA NG system is based on the MICA NG, developed by MBDA, equipping the AAE and French Navy’s Rafale.

“After two years of development of the new generation MICA missile, our mastery of maintaining the performance of this brand new air-to-air missile allows us to offer its integration into the market in VL MICA systems,” commented Eric Beranger, CEO of MBDA, in October 2020.

In detail, the VL MICA NG provides “enhanced capabilities to tackle diverse targets. [drones, petits aéronefs]As well as combating future threats with increasingly reduced infrared and electromagnetic signatures, MBDA promises, it can intercept “classic targets” at “longer distances”.

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Photo: MBDA

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