Brimstone missile

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Made by the European consortium, MBDA, the Brimstone missile was originally derived, according to the Royal Air Force, from the AGM-114F Hellfire of the U.S. Army.[1] While it was launched from U.S. helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, the RAF version is launched from a triple rack on high performance aircraft such as the Panavia Tornado. In RAF service, it replaced the BL755 anti-armor cluster munition, with an initial standoff range of 8 km.[2] Basic mode Brimstone entered service on 31 March 2005.

It is principally intended as an antitank weapon but can be used on other hard targets. The Brimstone warhead is of the tandem type, with a first warhead intended to predetonate reactive armor so that the main warhead will penetrate.

In the initial version, the missile used millimeter wave target image matching, with both a direct and indirect capability. The pilot locks the seeker onto the target in direct mode, while, in indirect mode, other sensors give the aircraft the target coordinates. Both modes are fire-and-forget.

Dual Mode Brimstone

A semi-active laser guidance capability was added in dual mode Brimstone (DMB). In 2007 the RAF issued an Urgent Operational Requirement for an upgraded Brimstone weapon featuring a man-in-the-loop capability. The contract for DMB was issued in 2007, the first operational sortie in 2008, and te first combat firing in Afghanistan in 2009. [3]

Selective Precision Effects At Range (SPEAR)

A 2010 contract will replace the warhead amd motor with insensitive high explosives while increasing performance; a contract for a second phase of development was issued in March 2010.

References

  1. Brimstone missile, Royal Air Force
  2. "Brimstone", Defence Suppliers Directory
  3. Dual Mode Brimstone, MBDA