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Land-based VL-MICA Air Defense System Wins Initial Export Order

Oman has selected the VL MICA short-range air defence system, becoming the first export customer for the land-based VL MICA system. The naval variant of the missile has already been ordered by two export customers. MBDA will be the prime contractor and integrator of a system to include a command and coordination centre (Tactical Operations Centre), truck-mounted vertical launch systems and surveillance and acquisition radar.

VL MICA development was launched in 2005, with the French Defense procurement Agency (DGA) funding and support of the French Armed Forces. The system utilizes standard MICA missiles, capable of being fitted with either an active or an IR seeker, thus improving the system's performance under stressful counter-measures.

The system recently performed its 15th consecutive successful live firing test demonstrating the VL-MICA capability as a coastal defense system, protecting the littoral area by intercepting low signature missile targets attacking from the sea. The target used in this test represented an incoming sea-skimming missile flying at an altitude of 10 above sea level. The VL-MICA equipped with an infrared seeker scored a direct hit at the target, at a range of about 15 km.

The missile was fired from the 'autonomous container launcher' (CLA) vertical launch module, which will equip both the ground and naval versions of the system. The CLA was controlled from a vehicular mission control shelter located six kilometers from the launch site, demonstrating the system's distributed deployment capability. The demonstration conducted jointly by the DGA and MBDA was attended by six foreign delegations.

MBDA is strengthening its positioning in the Polish market, in anticipation for the forthcoming decision on the future modernization of Polish ground based air-defense system. The company is formalizing its strategic relations with Poland's leading defense company Bumar MBDA following earlier cooperation agreements with PIT and BUMAR subsidiary RADWAR signed in 2007.