Tag Archives: Brimstone

Brimstone missile

A series of live firings of the MBDA Brimstone precision strike missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon have been completed successfully, adding enhanced capability to the aircraft.

Brimstone missile trials completed successfully as part of Eurofighter Typhoon enhancement programme
Brimstone missile trials completed successfully as part of Eurofighter Typhoon enhancement programme

The trials, conducted from BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information at Warton, Lancashire, UK, form part of a programme of new enhancements which will be rolled out across the Royal Air Force (RAF), ensuring Typhoon remains at the cutting edge of combat capability.

Brimstone will provide Typhoon with a low collateral, pin-point accurate air-to-surface weapon, further enhancing the aircraft’s already combat-proven swing-role performance. Planning for the next stages of work on Brimstone – including evaluation by the RAF in mid-2018 – is now underway ahead of its entry into service.

Andy Flynn, Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, BAE Systems, said: «To complete this milestone is testament to the expertise and dedication of our people and the value of working closely with our partners. Brimstone will add a low-collateral, high precision strike capability and ensure Typhoon remains fit to meet the threats of the future for decades to come».

Brimstone is part of the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package which also includes mission system and sensor upgrades. P3E is the final part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the RAF.

In total nine firings and nine jettison trials, which began in July, have been completed, with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo.

The aim of the trials was to provide weapons integration clearance for operational use. They covered a range of specific release scenarios, testing at various heights, speeds, levels of G-force and in different positions on the aircraft wing and in the launcher. The nine firings have also been used to perform data analysis and models of the weapon’s performance. Further flight trials will take place in early 2018, followed by operational evaluation by the RAF.

Operational evaluation of the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) package with the with RAF’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK, is continuing and will include live firings ahead of roll out to the UK fleet. The P2E package includes MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile and the Storm Shadow deep strike stand-off air-to-surface missile.

Live firing

The first live firing of MBDA’s Brimstone air-to-surface missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon has been successfully completed as part of ongoing development work to significantly upgrade the capability of the aircraft. The trial is part of work to integrate the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon, which will also deliver further sensor and mission system upgrades.

Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft enhancements move forward with successful live firing of Brimstone missile
Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft enhancements move forward with successful live firing of Brimstone missile

The P3E package forms part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the Royal Air Force.

The UK’s IPA (Instrumented Production Aircraft) 6 Typhoon conducted the firing with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo. It was designed to test the separation of the low-collateral, high-precision Brimstone weapon when it is released. In total, nine firings will take place to expand the launch and range capabilities.

The initial firing follows completion of a series of around 40 flight trials earlier this year, some of them conducted alongside pilots from the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – in a Combined Test Team approach.

Volker Paltzo, CEO for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said: «The successful completion of this trial is an important step towards integration of the weapon on to the aircraft. Brimstone will provide the Typhoon pilot with the ability to precisely attack fast-moving targets at range, further enhancing the aircraft’s already highly potent air-to-surface capabilities».

Andy Flynn, BAE Systems Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, added: «Through the dedicated work of our teams, and with support from our partners, we have been able to reach this milestone in a short space of time. We will now continue to work alongside the Royal Air Force and our partner companies in a joint approach to ensure we successfully deliver this package of enhancements into service».

Andy Bradford, MBDA Director of Typhoon Integration, said: «This first firing is a major milestone for both the Brimstone and Typhoon programmes. Together Brimstone and Typhoon will provide the Royal Air Force and other Eurofighter nations with a world-beating strike capability to beyond 2040».

The successful trial follows completion earlier this year of the flight trials programme for the MBDA Storm Shadow deep strike air-to-surface weapon and the MBDA Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air missile. Operational testing and evaluation of those capabilities is currently ongoing with the Royal Air Force ahead of entry into service in 2018.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 50 kg/110.2 lbs
Length 1.8 m/5.9 feet
Diameter 180 mm/7 inches
Guidance Millimetric Wave Radar and Semi-Active Laser
Warhead Tandem Shaped Charge

 

Brimstone for RPAS

MBDA’s Brimstone precision strike missile is being planned as the UK’s guided missile solution for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Protector Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) programme. If confirmed, the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Certifiable Predator B will enter service with the British weapon.

MBDA’s Brimstone missile planned for RAF’S Protector RPAS
MBDA’s Brimstone missile planned for RAF’S Protector RPAS

The integration plan is included as part of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Main Gate selection of the aircraft and, if agreed, the missile will be integrated and fielded in line with the Platform’s introduction to service.

MBDA will now work together with UK MoD, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and GA-ASI towards a programme which would see the missile undergo integration onto the Air System with trials and firings towards the end of the decade. The missile has already successfully completed a series of trial firings on MQ-9 Reaper during early 2014 that saw the weapon engaging 70 mph/113 km/h and maneuvering targets with extreme precision from the RPAS; unmatched by any other weapon since.

The missile promises to arm Protector with the ability to strike fast moving, maneuvering targets with both man in the loop post launch guidance and also autonomous post launch all weather capabilities. This confirms that the missile is a true multiplatform weapon that can operate across fast jets, RPAS and, most recently, helicopters. A number of further enhanced capabilities are planned to be developed and incorporated into the solutions for Protector, AH-64E and Typhoon, demonstrating MBDA’s commitment to spirally evolve the weapon to meet changing customer needs and adapting to new threats.

The UK Sales & Business Development Director, James Allibone, highlighted the significance of the news saying, «Brimstone offers customers the ability to have one missile that can operate across their fleet of operational aircraft, whether they are jets, RPAS or helicopters. One missile for all platforms means customers benefit from simplified and more efficient training, logistics and inventory management as well as Brimstone’s outstanding precision against the most challenging of targets».

 

Missile Characteristics

Weight 110 lbs/50 kg
Length 5.9 feet/1.8 m
Diameter 7 inches/180 mm
Guidance Millimetric Wave Radar and Semi-Active Laser
Warhead Tandem Shaped Charge

 

Brimstone final trials

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. This 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.

Brimstones’s wide range of target types includes: fast moving vehicles, tanks and armoured cars, bunkers, as well as naval vessels including swarming and individual Fast In-shore Attack Craft (FIAC)
Brimstones’s wide range of target types includes: fast moving vehicles, tanks and armoured cars, bunkers, as well as naval vessels including swarming and individual Fast In-shore Attack Craft (FIAC)

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).

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 50 kg/110.2 lbs
Length 1.8 m/5.9 feet
Diameter 180 mm/7 inches
Guidance Millimetric Wave Radar and Semi-Active Laser
Warhead Tandem Shaped Charge
The system can be operated in three separate modes, each providing the user with flexibility and high confidence in mission success
The system can be operated in three separate modes, each providing the user with flexibility and high confidence in mission success