MBDA Brimstone Missile (RAF)

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SKB
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MBDA Brimstone Missile (RAF)

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Introduction
Brimstone is an air-launched ground attack missile developed by MBDA for Britain's Royal Air Force. It was originally intended for "fire-and-forget" use against mass formations of enemy armour, using a millimetric wave (mmW) active radar homing seeker to ensure accuracy even against moving targets. Experience in Afghanistan led to the addition of laser guidance in the dual-mode Brimstone missile, allowing a "spotter" to pick out specific targets when friendly forces or civilians were in the area. The tandem shaped charge warhead is much more effective against modern tanks than older similar weapons such as the AGM-65G Maverick, while the small blast area minimises collateral damage. Three Brimstones are carried on a launcher that occupies a single weapon station, allowing a single aircraft to carry many missiles.

After a protracted development programme, single-mode or "millimetric" Brimstone entered service with RAF Tornado aircraft in 2005, and the dual-mode variant in 2008. The latter has been extensively used in Afghanistan and Libya. An improved Brimstone 2 was expected to enter service in October 2012, but problems with the new warhead from TDW and the ROXEL rocket motor put back the planned date to November 2015. MBDA is working on the targeting of swarms of small boats under the name Sea Spear.[citation needed] The RAF intend to fit Brimstone to their Eurofighter Typhoons, and planned to integrate it with their Harriers until the latter were withdrawn from service in 2011. MBDA is studying the use of Brimstone on ships, attack helicopters, UAVs, and from surface launchers. However, it will not be integrated on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. The United States, France and India have expressed interest in buying Brimstone for their aircraft, but Saudi Arabia is the only export customer as of 2015. The cost per missile has been quoted as £175,000 ($263,000) each in 2015, or 'over £100,000'.

In November 2016, the German Air Force announced as part of a closer cooperation between Germany and the U.K. to procure Brimstone 2 dual mode missiles for their fleet of Eurofighter aircraft from 2019 on. Germany decided against their own missile development as the Brimstone 2 missile already meets 90% of the demanded requirements


Overview
The missile was originally supposed to be an evolution of the original laser Hellfire, with the laser seeker replaced by a millimetre wave (mmW) seeker. During development, virtually the entire missile was redesigned, resulting in a weapon that - other than the external shape - bears no relation to the original airframe. It is unrelated to the separate development of the mmW Hellfire for the Apache Longbow. The missile airframe is developed from Lockheed's AGM-114 Hellfire, but Brimstone is an all-new design with its own motor, warhead and seeker.

Brimstone has a Tandem Shaped Charge (TSC) warhead that employs a smaller initial charge, designed to initiate reactive armour, followed by a larger, more destructive charge, designed to penetrate and defeat the base armour. It has been estimated that Brimstone will be 3 times more effective than the AGM-65G Maverick missile against modern tanks, and 7 times more effective than the BL755 cluster bomb. In combat Brimstone has demonstrated accuracy and reliability "both well above 90 percent" according to the MoD; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton has said that 98.3% to 98.7% of Brimstone fired in Libya "did exactly what we expected".


Targeting and sensors
Brimstone is a "fire-and-forget" missile, which is loaded with targeting data by the Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) prior to launch. It is programmable to adapt to particular mission requirements. This capability includes essentially the ability to find targets within a certain area (such as those near friendly forces), and to self-destruct if it is unable to find a target within the designated area. This information is provided to the munition by the WSO from RAF ASTOR, USAF Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS aircraft or local troops.

In addition to the semi-autonomous ability to decide its own targets, the Brimstone has the capacity to determine where on a target to best impact causing the most damage or resulting in elimination of the target. The missile's advanced sensor package includes its extremely high frequency millimetric wave radar, which allows the weapon to image the target and hence choose a target location. With as many as twenty-four missiles in the air, the missile's targeting system also required an algorithm to ensure that missiles hit their targets in a staggered order, rather than all simultaneously.

Brimstone can be fired in a number of attack profiles; direct or indirect against single targets, a column of targets or against an array of targets. The latter utilises a salvo attack capability for multiple kills per engagement. Once launched, the platform is free to manoeuvre away from the target area or engage another target array.


Launch system
Each launch system incorporates three rails, i.e. one system carries three missiles. This allows a single aircraft to carry large numbers of missiles; for example, a Typhoon could carry up to six launch systems on six individual pylons, which gives a maximum payload of eighteen Brimstone missiles, in addition to a useful air-to-air payload. The missile is carried by the Tornado GR4 in RAF service. In February 2014 the National Audit Office warned of a possible capability gap under existing plans to fit Brimstone to Typhoon in 2021, two years after the Tornado retired; in June 2014 the MoD announced a study to accelerate this to 2018 and look at a common launcher that could also launch Spear. MBDA have fired test rounds from an MQ-9 Reaper and are studying the use of Brimstone on attack helicopters and from surface launchers; it will be integrated with the F-35 Lightning II when it enters British service. Both the US and France have expressed interest in buying it for their aircraft.

It was intended that Brimstone would be integrated on the RAF Harrier fleet under Capability D of the JUMP programme with a scheduled in-service date of 2009. A Harrier GR9 first flew with 12 Brimstone on 14 February 2007, and the RAF released video of a Tornado (incorrectly reported as a Harrier) using a Dual Mode Brimstone against an Afghan insurgent in 2008. In late 2009 Brimstone was "nearing completion for integration on the Harrier" but in July 2010 it was reported that Brimstone on the Harrier would be postponed until the insensitive-munition version of the missile became available in 2012. Brimstone had not been officially cleared for use on the type when the UK Harriers were withdrawn from service in late 2010.


Operational Use
In March 2005, Brimstone entered service with No. 31 Squadron RAF. Full Operational Capability (FOC) was declared for the Tornado GR4 in December 2005. The first operational sortie of dual-mode Brimstone was over Iraq as part of Operation TELIC on 18 December 2008 by a Tornado GR4 of IX(B) Squadron. It was first fired in combat in June 2009, the month that the Tornado GR4's of 12 Squadron arrived in Afghanistan as part of Operation HERRICK.

Brimstone was used extensively during Operation ELLAMY over Libya in 2011. According to a British Ministry of Defence News report, dated 26 March 2011, RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft launched several Brimstone missiles over the towns of Misrata and Ajdabiya destroying a total of five armoured vehicles belonging to the Gaddafi regime. Sixty Brimstone were fired in the first four weeks of the Libya campaign, out of 110 Brimstone fired in all operations up to that time. This prompted the MoD to ask MBDA to convert more missiles to the dual-mode version. 150 dual-mode missiles had been ordered in December 2010, but according to the Royal United Services Institute, stocks of usable dual-mode missiles fell to single figures at one stage of the Libya campaign. The 500th dual-mode Brimstone was delivered in March 2012, at which time over 200 had been fired in combat. The single-mode missile was not fired in combat until 15 September 2011 when a pair of RAF Tornado GR4 of IX(B) Squadron fired 22 missiles (including a salvo of 12 by one aircraft) against an armoured column near Sebha/Sabha, 400 miles south of Tripoli.

In September 2014, Tornado GR4 strike aircraft of No. 2 Squadron RAF began flying armed sorties over Iraq in support of Operation Shader, the UK's contribution to the US-led Military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. On September 30, the aircraft made their first airstrikes, engaging a heavy artillery position with a Paveway IV laser-guided bomb and an armed pickup truck with a Brimstone air-to-ground missile. Brimstone is the preferred weapon for these kinds of targets because it is the only air-launched low-fragmentation fire-and-forget weapon that is effective against moving targets that the allied inventory possesses.

Export sales
Around £10 million of Brimstones from the RAF stock were sold to the Royal Saudi Air Force for use on their Tornados. In April 2011, the RAF's Assistant Chief of the Air Staff Air vice-marshal Baz North reported that the missiles were "being sought by both the United States of America and the French" in the light of Brimstone's success in Libya. France's DGA procurement agency held meetings in late May 2011 to discuss a lightweight air-to-surface weapon for the Dassault Rafale; Stéphane Reb of the DGA would merely say that "Brimstone is a solution, but it's not the only option". In early 2014 the US Congress' House Armed Services Committee showed interest again in the missile; high-ranking members of the US armed services have stated they "like it" and if they do choose it they "need it out soon". The French Air Force were still thinking about a purchase in March 2012, with a prime consideration being lower collateral damage compared to the AASM. India has made a request for information about integrating Brimstone on their Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet. MBDA hopes that firings conducted in the U.S. intended for the U.K. to test the feasibility of arming British General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAVs with the missile will persuade the U.S. military to purchase the Brimstone 2. In July 2014, it was revealed that the United States Navy was beginning environmental and integration analysis of the Dual Mode Brimstone for use on the Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets. The United States Army is also considering the Brimstone as "an option" in its Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) program.


Name: Brimstone
Type: Air-to-surface missile
Place of origin: United Kingdom
Service history: In service 2005
Used by: Royal Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force
Used in: Operation Telic, Operation Herrick, Operation Ellamy, Operation Shader
Designer: GEC-Marconi
Designed: 1996
Manufacturer: MBDA (UK) Ltd, Lostock
Unit cost:
(Dual Mode Variant)
£105,000/unit
£175,000 inc development
Produced: 1999
Weight: 48.5 kg
Length: 1.8 m
Diameter: 17.8 cm
Warhead: HEAT tandem warhead
Detonation mechanism: Crush (impact) fuse
Engine: Solid-fuel rocket
Operational range:
Brimstone I:
20+ km (12+ mi) from fixed wing, 12 km (7.5 mi) from rotor wing
Brimstone II:
60+ km (37+ mi) from fixed wing, 40+ km (25+ mi) from rotor wing
Speed: Supersonic (~450m/s)
Guidance system: 94 GHz millimetric wave Active radar homing and INS autopilot, dual-mode adds laser guidance
Accuracy: = sub-1m CEP
Steering system: Flight control surfaces
Launch platform: Tornado GR4, Typhoon (planned), Ship (planned)

Brimstone in action. (Video by our very own The Armchair Soldier ;) )


Brimstone vs multiple attack boats test

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SKB
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Re: MBDA Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by SKB »

US Congress discusses the Brimstone


US test the Brimstone

jonas
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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by jonas »

Last but not least,US have not bought the brimstone. ;)

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

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....................
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SKB wrote:Brimstone is the preferred weapon for these kinds of targets because it is the only air-launched low-fragmentation fire-and-forget weapon that is effective against moving targets that the allied inventory possesses.
Would the above be specific to the Iraq/ Syria IS bombing campaign, where Apaches have not been used? There was some talk of this happening when Turkey allowed the use of the bases there (but it hasn't, as far as I know).
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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Tinman »

Apache is good, but is not a GR4, which minimises the risks.

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:is the only air-launched low-fragmentation fire-and-forget weapon that is effective against moving targets that the allied inventory possesses.
That is really a quote from SKB. I agree with Tinman, but is the above quote strictly speaking accurate?
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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SKB
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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by SKB »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
ArmChairCivvy wrote:is the only air-launched low-fragmentation fire-and-forget weapon that is effective against moving targets that the allied inventory possesses.
That is really a quote from SKB. I agree with Tinman, but is the above quote strictly speaking accurate?
It's not strictly 'my' quote. It's Wikipedia's. ;)

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Tinman »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
ArmChairCivvy wrote:is the only air-launched low-fragmentation fire-and-forget weapon that is effective against moving targets that the allied inventory possesses.
That is really a quote from SKB. I agree with Tinman, but is the above quote strictly speaking accurate?
Apache will not operate over Iraq without massive in country support, which means troops, more troops and lots of logistics RPAS does it much more safely.

JPR is in place for the GR4 crews, coalition crews.

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:it is the only air-launched low-fragmentation fire-and-forget weapon that is effective against moving targets
Lots of sensible answers, but none of them focussing on the bolded; I was only questioning whether it was a general, or in context statement
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Chris Werb »

It's a shame that the automomous seeking/killbox/each missile attacks own target mode of the "legacy" Brimstone was done away with the DMB conversion and will not be reinstated with Brimstone 2. That capability proved useful on at least one occasion in Libya and could prove extremely useful were we to go up against a country that could deploy armour competently and in quantity with respectable GBAD covering it.

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by mr.fred »

Chris Werb wrote:It's a shame that the automomous seeking/killbox/each missile attacks own target mode of the "legacy" Brimstone was done away with the DMB conversion and will not be reinstated with Brimstone 2.
Was it removed? Why? Surely it's just software.

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Chris Werb »

Well they've reinstated the capability! It's now called "Mode 3" on the DMB - it only had the two modes before. As you state, it was probably just software.

http://www.mbda-systems.com/mediagaller ... 431708.pdf

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by SKB »

RAF uses Brimstone missiles against Islamic State in Syria
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35278749

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by WhiteWhale »

I know it is to be 'integrated' into the Dave but does it fit inside the smaller B internal bay and if so how many can be squeezed in?

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by jonas »

WhiteWhale wrote:I know it is to be 'integrated' into the Dave but does it fit inside the smaller B internal bay and if so how many can be squeezed in?
Well according to 'wiki' the anwswer is yes:-

"At the same time MBDA were awarded an Assessment Phase contract for SPEAR Capability 3[23] (formerly SPEAR Drop 2). This is specified to have a range of at least 100km, however the UK MoD and MBDA believe that they can achieve over 120km (62+nm).[26][N 2] The weapon will make substantial reuse of Brimstone modules. The 2 m (6.6 ft) weapon will fly at high-subsonic speed using a turbojet and wing kit,[27] and will feature a multimode seeker with INS/GPS guidance and datalink.[27] The assessment phase will conclude with flight trials in 2014[27] on Typhoon.[28] The missile is set to use the same Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet as the JSOW-ER.[29][N 3] MBDA have shown artwork of a four-missile launcher on a single Typhoon weapon station,[27] and four will fit with a Meteor air-to-air missile in each internal weapons bay of the F-35B.[27]"

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by WhiteWhale »

Good to read, should make for a decent all round package in a clean configuration.

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Wrekin762 »

I seem to remember reading that the RAF specifically dropped its requirement and funding for internal carriage of Brimstone (SPEAR 2).
Likely they see internal stowage of Paveway IV (SPEAR 1) and SPEAR 3 (which is the weapon that the information jonas wrote, pertains to) as being more important.

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Gabriele »

It is kind of complex to integrate Brimstone (like ASRAAM) for launch from an enclosed bay. Both are rail-launched missiles, which fire their rocket and slid off the rail. Obviously you can't do that inside the weapon bay. ASRAAM (on the AG station) would have needed a trapeze mounting lowering the rail out of the weapon bay to enable safe launch. Brimstone would be the same.

Of course, the development of Brimstone 2, with a whole new rocket motor, would have been the perfect chance to add an ejection launch mode, with delayed rocket firing, to address exactly this one problem. BUT, as far as i know, this was not specified for Brimstone 2.



By the way, according to this: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /78723784/ Germany might end up being the next Brimstone customer.
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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Jdam »

So Germany might have Brimstone on thier drone before we do :shock:

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by shark bait »

That would be embarrassing!

Big potential for Germany, a coupple of other platform's I can think of once MDBA had there foot in the door.
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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Ron5 »

shark bait wrote:That would be embarrassing!

Big potential for Germany, a coupple of other platform's I can think of once MDBA had there foot in the door.
Embarrassing to export a British weapon to Germany? How so?

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by jonas »

Ron5 wrote:
shark bait wrote:That would be embarrassing!

Big potential for Germany, a coupple of other platform's I can think of once MDBA had there foot in the door.
Embarrassing to export a British weapon to Germany? How so?
I don't think he's saying the export would be embarrassing, but the fact they may fit it to a drone before we do. Far as I am aware we still use hellfire on Reaper, and Brimstone is yet to be integrated fully ?.

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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Gabriele »

Brimstone was trialed, but i guess the RAF will want to wait for Protector to put british weapons on. No integration has progressed for now.
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Re: Brimstone Missile (RAF)

Post by Jdam »

jonas wrote:I don't think he's saying the export would be embarrassing, but the fact they may fit it to a drone before we do. Far as I am aware we still use hellfire on Reaper, and Brimstone is yet to be integrated fully ?.
Yep we having been buying hellfire's from the US army's stock pile to top up our stocks recently. It just seems ridiculous that we haven't integrated this weapon onto a few different platform yep. Like Gab said there has already been tests done with Reaper and Brimstone where it was hitting moving targets, how much more work would we need to do?

Also I seem to remember that Brimstone was meant to be put onto our Apaches when we first got them yet it never happen any reason why?

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