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Weapons

MBDA unveils surface-launched Brimstone platform concepts

03 September 2019
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Computer-generated image of a cassette of six Brimstone precision strike missiles on a Milrem Robotics Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) UGV. Source: MBDA

European missile systems house MBDA has unveiled two new high load-out, salvo-fire, surface-to-surface missile platform concepts designed to exploit the anti-armour capabilities of the Brimstone precision strike missile.

Equipped with dual-mode (millimetric wave radar - MMW/ semi-active laser - SAL) - seeker, Brimstone is a 180 mm 50 kg class effector originally conceived to engage static and manoeuvring targets in an air-to-surface role. MBDA has subsequently extensively trialled the weapon system for surface-launched applications from land and naval platforms in line with its 'one missile, multiplatform' initiative.

Brimstone is the primary air-to-surface armament on the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 swing-role combat aircraft, and will also be integrated on the RAF's future Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted air system (RPAS); additionally, the missile is a candidate for the primary air-to-ground munition to equip the British Army's AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter. The Brimstone capability for all platforms will be drawn from a common stockpile in line with the provisions of MBDA's Portfolio Management Agreement (PMA) with the UK Ministry of Defence.

MBDA, using internal research and development (IRAD) funding, has now developed a cassette of six Brimstone missiles on a modular elevating launcher for use with unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), to provide an autonomous, all-weather, all-terrain, high-volume precision effects capability against all known defensive aid suite (DAS)-equipped heavy armour. The company is expected to showcase this solution at DSEI installed on a Milrem Robotics Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).

The integration, which adds an approximately 400 kg payload to the UGV, is the intended advantage of the high off-boresight agility of the Brimstone missile to avoid the complexity of rotating turrets. Using digital targeting data provided by the remote operator or third-part sensors over standard secure military networks, the system will be capable of engaging line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight targets, with a choice of radio frequency and SAL engagement modes.

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