India is likely to start receiving MBDA’s MICA missile beginning in 2015, a senior defense ministry official says.

“We are hoping that MBDA will expedite its delivery of the MICA missiles to mount on the 51 Mirage 2000H aircraft that are being upgraded by France’s Thales and Dassault jointly with Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics,” the official says.

India early this year approved a proposal to buy close to 500 MICA air-to-air missiles for around 66 billion rupees ($1.2 billion). The delivery of the upgraded Mirage 2000H will start in July 2014, but according to the current schedule the delivery of MICA missiles is slated between 2015-19, he says.

Talks also are underway with MBDA on how the company will fulfill its defense offset obligations for the deal, which will require a reinvestment of 30% of the total with Indian industry.

The Indian air force is upgrading its 51 Mirage 2000Hs over the next 10 years. Two aircraft are already in France to be upgraded and will be delivered by July 2014. “We expect that all 51 Mirages will be upgraded by mid-2021,” the official says. The Mirage upgrade deal, worth 109.5 billion rupees was signed in 2011.

The Indian air force is on a fighter upgrade spree. Apart from the Mirage 2000s, Indian Jaguars and MiG-29s also are being improved. The MiG-29s will be upgraded by 2016 for a budget of around $964 million while upgrading the Jaguars will cost 31.13 billion rupees.

MICA missile photo: MBDA