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Air-Launched Weapons

Brimstone, Paveway to equip UK Protector RPAS

04 February 2019
The RAF’s future Protector RG Mk1 RPAS equipped with the MBDA Brimstone 3 precision strike missile and Raytheon Paveway IV precision-guided munition. Source: MBDA

MBDA and Raytheon UK have been awarded separate contracts by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) to respectively integrate the Brimstone 3 precision strike missile and Paveway IV precision-guided munition with the UK Royal Air Force's (RAF's) future Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted air system (RPAS).

Protector RG Mk1 is the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) designator for the weaponised variant of the GA-ASI MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS - the next generation of its multimission Predator B platform. The RAF is expected to acquire 16 Protector RPAS platforms, with the most recent in-service date with the RAF given by the MoD as mid-2024.

Signed at the end of October 2018, but disclosed on 24 January 2019, both contracts are governed by the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mechanism. The US government has mandated that all contracts relating to weapons integration on a US RPAS must go through the government under the FMS process. The value of both contracts has not been disclosed.

The contract with MBDA provides for integration and validation of Brimstone 3 on Protector and includes full weapon human-machine interface and weapon capability integration. "Manufacture and supply of Brimstone 3 hardware in support of GA-ASI activities to integrate Brimstone 3 onto Protector RG Mk1 will be handled under a separate contract between MBDA and [the] UK MoD," David Postlethwaite, head of UAS & FCAS - MBDA, Air Domain, UK Sales and Business Development, told Jane's .

The product of a GBP400 million (USD522 million) Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) contract awarded to MBDA by the UK MoD in March 2018, Brimstone 3 is a spirally developed evolution of the 50 kg-class Brimstone 2 precision-guided air-to-surface missile.

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