Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Origin: United Kingdom
Boeing and MBDA
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Description: The Brimstone is an advanced derivative of the AGM-114F Hellfire missile developed to be launched from fixed wing aircraft. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (UK MoD) awarded the development and production contract in November 1996. The supersonic Brimstone is a fire and forget missile intended against fixed and moving armored targets. It features a tandem shaped charge warhead and an active millimeter wave radar seeker which enables Brimstone to be used day and night, in adverse weather conditions and in dense presence of obscurants.
This weapon system comprises 3 Brimstone missiles and a launcher. It can be released according to 2 modes. The indirect mode is used when the target position is well known and the aircraft releases the Brimstone missile away from the target in safe conditions. The direct mode requires visual identification because the coordinates of the target are not known or it must be selected among other potential targets. In both cases, the Brimstone can be released with high off-boresight angles to save the aircraft from special and dangerous maneuvers. Once released the supersonic, fire and forget Brimstone achieves its prey autonomously. It is only supported by means of an inertial measurement unit.
The Brimstone weapon system is also capable of engage groups of armored vehicles instead of stand-alone armored targets. Multiple Brimstone missiles can be released simultaneously in order to achieve multiple engagements. The problem of hitting twice the same target is solved by Brimstone's advanced software algorithms. This software also allows advanced search for targets modes (for example searching for targets in a restricted area when the Brimstone leaves the area the search is stopped) reducing collateral damage and friendly fire. The Brimstone is able to defeat ERA and APS protected battle tanks even in dense countermeasures environments. The whole weapon system (launcher plus 3 missiles) weighs about 235 kg. It can be released from most of fast fighters or subsonic light attack aircraft.
Originally the Royal Air Force (RAF) selected Brimstone as its primary anti-armor weapon for integration onto its Tornado Gr4/4A, Harrier Gr9 and Typhoon/Eurofighter aircraft. The first operational missile were delivered in November 2004 entering into service on March 31st 2005. MBDA is delivering full rate production Brimstone missiles to the RAF at 95 per month. As of 2005 this anti-armor was also being considered for integration onto Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA), a version of F-35 JSF, due to its lightweight and smaller design. The Brimstone was used successfully in Afghanistan and Libya.
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