Denel Umkhonto out, MBDA VL-MICA selected for Egypt’s Navy A200 frigates

After South Africa’s Denel Dynamics’ disappointing failure to complete it’s own part of the deal to supply dozens of Umkhonto surface-to-air missile to Egypt, Cairo has apparently gone ahead to select French-made MBDA VL-MICA to fill it’s requirement.

Cairo initially planned to acquire about 96 radar-guided Umkhonto-R missiles and 32 infrared-guided Umkhontos in a 2019 order intended to arm it’s four new MEKO A200 frigates it is buying from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).

The business with Denel fell through after it failed to provide guarantees for the R4.5 billion contract due to its financial issues.

For some years now, Denel has been reporting losses, hence, the Egyptian Umkhonto deal reported to worth about R4.5 billion was a lifeline to the failing company.

This particular deal signed in October last year was supposed to lift Denel Dynamics out of its current financial quagmire, since it was the company’s highest export contract

Unfortunately, Denel failed to secure any bank or insurance guarantees to back up it’s own part of the deal.

As a result, France’s La Tribune reported this week that Egypt apparently gone for the MBDA VL-MICA instead.

The VL-MICA is the obvious choice for Egypt since it is already in use on its Gowind class corvettes. In 2017, Egypt ordered 100 VL-MICA missiles.

Known as the Vertical Launch MICA (VL MICA) is a short range, ground based air defence system deploying the MICA fire-and-forget missile. The VL-MICA is capable of being fitted with either a heat-seeking homing head or with an active radar seeker head, has an interception range of up to 20 km.

Asides Egypt, neighbouring Morocco in May this year signed a $210.6 million loans for MBDA’s VL MICA ground-based air defence system.

The VL MICA system in its land-based configuration consists of a series of truck-mounted elements, including a tactical operations centre, Sagem SIGMA 30 radar, and launcher vehicles that can carry between three and six multi-round launchers with the missiles in clusters of four rounds.

Sarah Lesedi

Defense technological enthusiasts, African lover. Chief Chronicler at Sarah Lesedi blog.

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