According to a press release from defence giant MBDA, the Brimstone missile system has successfully demonstrated its Dual Mode BRIMSTONE missile against high speed targets moving and manoeuvring in a cluttered environment with multiple neutral vessels.
Trials were conducted at Qinetiqs Aberporth range in Wales over the last few months. A British Tornado GR4 aircraft fired two Dual Mode BRIMSTONE missiles, one reportedly telemetry and one operational, each operating MBDA’s latest Anti-FIAC (fast inshore attack craft) software upgrades.
According to the press release:
The telemetry missile achieved a direct hit on the FIAC’s engines with the target operating at its maximum achievable speed in ‘low sea state 4’ conditions. The operational missile achieved a direct hit at the rear of the second FIAC’s cabin, destroying and sinking the target which was operating at maximum achievable speeds in ‘sea state 3’ conditions. Missile impact occurred whilst the target was within very close proximity to three neutral vessels. The target was destroyed and sunk with the single shot and with no collateral damage to the neutral vessels.
These tests confirmed Dual Mode BRIMSTONE’s first pass precision and lethality against challenging targets in stressing environments. The dual mode Semi-Active Laser and active MMW (millimetric wave) radar seeker works in tandem to provide a unique ability to selectively engage a specific target irrespective of target speed or manoeuvre even when in cluttered, congested and high collateral risk environments.
MBDA have been testing the maritime variant since 2012 when a Tornado GR4 dropped a prototype that hit and sank a 6-metre inflatable boat travelling at 20 kts in sea state 3.
The single-mode variant of missile was not fired in combat until September 2011 when a pair of British Tornado GR4 fired 22 missiles against an armoured column during the Libyan conflict. MBDA hopes that firings conducted in the US intended for the UK to test the feasibility of arming British MQ-9 Reaper UAVs with the missile will persuade the U.S. military to purchase the Brimstone. France and India have also expressed interest in the air launched variant.
The missile, often highly praised by the forces, is an extremely capable weapon for the engagement of moving and manoeuvring targets, and targets in high collateral damage risk environments and it seems that its reputation is very well deserved.