MBDA's enhanced Brimstone achieves final operational evaluation with RAF

World Aviation Defense & Security Industry News - MBDA
MBDA's enhanced Brimstone achieves final operational evaluation with RAF
The Brimstone air-to-surface missile developed by MBDA has successfully undertaken challenging operational evaluation trials by the Royal Air Force (RAF) that confirm the performance of the missile's latest technical enhancements.
MBDA enhanced Brimstone achieves final operational evaluation with RAF 640 002 MBDA's Brimstone missile successfully achieved direct hits against targets operating at speeds up to 70 mph
(Credit: MBDA)
This evaluation was achieved during February 2016 at China Lake in the USA as the culmination of a programme to advance the operational edge this highly capable missile brings. Brimstone has a record of approximately 500 missile firings with a very high success rate since its entry into service. The operational evaluation trials involved 11 missile firings, including at the edge of the weapon system's performance envelope. The trials were conducted against a variety of operational scenarios with precise hits on very small, fast moving vehicles and against complex static targets. The trials included single and salvo firings, whilst laser, millimetric radar and dual mode guided modes were used, as was ground-based, third party laser designation.

The trials demonstrated the missile engagement envelope is significantly increased over the in-service missile, providing a 100% increase in stand-off range (based on MBDA modelling and release ranges of the in-service missile), and a significantly increased ability to engage targets at high off-bore sight angles. This improves the ability to fire from a launch platform performing a close air support (CAS) flying pattern ('wheel') over the battlefield, without the need to manoeuvre the platform to align with the target.

The firings also successfully demonstrated the new Insensitive Munition (IM) warhead, against armoured and non-armoured targets whilst bringing additional deployment benefits.

The RAF's Eurofighter Typhoon will benefit first from this enhanced capability, with an integration programme underway for 2018. Separate activities are being conducted for Brimstone's potential use on the UK's Future Attack Helicopter and Protector remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS).

MBDA enhanced Brimstone achieves final operational evaluation with RAF 640 001MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface missile
(Credit: MBDA)
Brimstone is a unique air–to-surface precision attack weapon currently being used in operations over Syria and Iraq by the RAF. It is used for the engagement of fast moving and manoeuvring targets in high collateral risk environments, as recently demonstrated from both Tornado GR4 and Reaper RPAS, achieving direct hits against targets operating at speeds up to 70 mph.

This programme has introduced a number of technical advances that incorporate the latest dual mode seeker capability, an Insensitive Munition (IM) rocket motor and warhead, and a new and stronger airframe for increased air carriage robustness.

Brimstone now has greater operational flexibility by enhancing guidance capabilities against challenging targets, achieved by exploiting Brimstone's inherent flexibility by 'tuning' sensor and guidance software to meet new and evolving operational scenarios, and through a step change in IM compliance which significantly improves operator, maintainer and platform safety on operations and reduces the logistics burden of operational deployments.

Already demonstrated from land, sea, fast jet and remotely piloted aircraft, Brimstone provides a true multi-role/multi-platform approach and very high single shot lethality to reduce whole life cost ownership of complex weapons.

With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2015 MBDA achieved a turnover of 2.9 billion euros with an order book of 15.1 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems.

MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air). In total, the group offers a range of 45 missile systems and countermeasures products already in operational service and more than 15 others currently in development.

MBDA is jointly held by AIRBUS Group (37.5%), BAE SYSTEMS (37.5%), and LEONARDO (25%).