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Romania considers options for SHORAD and VSHORAD

The primary battery components of VL MICA include the TEL (left), the TOC (centre), and a multifunctional radar (right). (MBDA)

Romania is preparing to open a tender for the acquisition of short-range air-defence (SHORAD) and very short-range air-defence (VSHORAD) systems, under a programme that was originally launched in 2017 with a total requirement of 21 batteries.

MBDA is offering the VL MICA and the Mistral 3 systems for the SHORAD and VSHORAD components, respectively, Julien Watelet, group head of Media at MBDA, told Janes at the BSDA 2022 exhibition in Bucharest. The Mistral configuration shown was the vehicle-based Mistral ATLAS, armed with the Mistral 3 missile. Watelet and other MBDA representatives explained that the company's proposal was for both systems to be capable of operating as an integrated two-layer air-defence system, or as standalone systems depending on the requirements of the tactical scenario. The MBDA representatives added that the command-and-control (C2) systems of the two – Tactial Operation Centre (TOC) in the case of VL MICA, and Licorne in the case of Mistral – used very similar software to simplify interoperability among crews.

An MBDA representative said that the company had decided to propose the VL MICA because the system was also offered with the Gowind 2500 corvettes selected by Romania in July 2019, thereby enabling greater commonality. However, the corvette programme does not appear to be proceeding as planned. In September 2021 a La Tribune article stated that the Romanian government no longer wanted to proceed with the contract. Consequently, if the project is cancelled and restarted, a different naval air-defence system could be selected. Despite this, the MICA RF and MICA IR missiles used by VL MICA could potentially be used with Romania's F-16 aircraft, which would provide for logistical commonality.

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