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The first live firing of the Brimstone missile from a Typhoon has been successfully completed as part of ongoing development work to significantly upgrade the capability of the aircraft.

The trial is part of work to integrate the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon, which will also deliver further sensor and mission system upgrades.

The P3E package forms part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the Royal Air Force.

The UK’s IPA (Instrumented Production Aircraft) 6 Typhoon conducted the firing with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo. It was designed to test the separation of the low-collateral, high-precision Brimstone weapon when it is released. In total, nine firings will take place to expand the launch and range capabilities.

The initial firing follows completion of a series of around 40 flight trials earlier this year, some of them conducted alongside pilots from the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – in a Combined Test Team approach.

Volker Paltzo, CEO for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said:

“The successful completion of this trial is an important step towards integration of the weapon on to the aircraft. Brimstone will provide the Typhoon pilot with the ability to precisely attack fast-moving targets at range, further enhancing the aircraft’s already highly potent air-to-surface capabilities.”

Andy Flynn, BAE Systems Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, added:

“Through the dedicated work of our teams, and with support from our partners, we have been able to reach this milestone in a short space of time. We will now continue to work alongside the Royal Air Force and our partner companies in a joint approach to ensure we successfully deliver this package of enhancements into service.”

Andy Bradford, MBDA Director of Typhoon Integration, said:

“This first firing is a major milestone for both the Brimstone and Typhoon programmes. Together Brimstone and Typhoon will provide the Royal Air Force and other Eurofighter nations with a world-beating strike capability to beyond 2040.”

The successful trial follows completion earlier this year of the flight trials programme for Storm Shadow and Meteor.

Operational testing and evaluation of those capabilities is currently ongoing with the Royal Air Force ahead of entry into service in 2018.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Still only export order for brimstone, KSA.

    Understand the Germans maybe interested.

    Perhaps the hype about this weapon is overblown.

    • US is also very interested as an alternative to the SDB (small diameter bomb). US military is apparently very impressed with it’s ability to hit moving targets at speed – bad guys in cars etc.,. Has been tested in the naval role against swarm attack from fast attack boats but haven’t heard if it will be adopted in that roll yet or not. One successful test doesn’t mean it will be adopted but the principle is sound and would give further reach than 30mm guns and multiple boats can be taken out at once. Would love to see it on our fleet escorts but it will never happen. Excellent weapon with updated version coming online soon.

        • Martlet a light missle and Sea Venom a medium missle, are going to be used on our helicopters from 2020. A replacement for the harpoon on our ships has not yet been decided and they go out of service at the start of next year.

          • As you say Ben, Martlet is helicopter-launched whereas the Brimstone sea trial was from a fixed launcher on a barge. One would assume the intention would be in service to fire from fixed launchers on deck. I’m not sure how many Martlet a Wildcat could carry but would it be enough to thwart a swarm attack given one helicopter is usually carried per escort and it itself is at risk of being shot down? Again, I doubt the ‘sea’ brimstone will go beyond the demo stage but the video was great to watch!

          • Yes. MSI Defence do a version of our 30mm cannon mount called Sigma that straps 7 LMM onto the side (https://www.msi-dsl.com/our_products/weapons/sigma.php). LMM is laser guided so they would need to add target designators but that would have the added benefit that the LMM and 30mm could operate somewhat independently. With LMM quoted as Mach 1.5 and a range of 8km a single designator would need to stay on target for about 16 seconds for a target at maximum range before being able to illuminate the next target but that (having a single designator for each Sigma mount) is probably acceptable for a swarm attack since the attackers would be moving a lot more slowly towards the ship being attacked so plenty of time to get off all 7 LMM on the mount if required. I suspect the cannon would also need to break off briefly to track back to the next LMM’s target just before firing so that it can be launched in the direction of the laser designator (or beam ride).

            For swarm attack our T26 and a lot of the RFA vessels will also have a pair of Phalanx but from a few videos that I’ve seen they seem to be pretty ineffective against RIBs. Hopefully that’s either misleading videos or sea clutter confusing the targeting which might be fixable in software.

      • Rumours of US interest have been around for sometime but no orders have been placed.

        I also note that the UK MOD have stated “The UK has no plans to integrate the Brimstone 2 missile onto the F-35B Lightning II aircraft. ” on the 25 January 2017.

        If it was that good why is not fitted to UK F35 aircraft?

        • Can you really see the US buying a foreign missile, I can not.

          It doesn’t matter if it is miles more capable, the US are all about self developed or designed tech, which is where the UK was in the 40s and which pretty much bankrupt the country in the 50s.

        • Because the Brimstone & Brimstone 2 successor is going to be Spear 3 and that is what is being integrated into F-35B, 8 into the F-35B internal bays (4 in each) and still leaving space for a single Meteor in each of the internal bays.

          I suspect it’s a matter of money, the MoD can’t afford to fund integration of both Brimstone and Spear 3 onto F-35B and, with Typhoon getting Brimstone anyway, it makes sense to me to allocate the F-35B resources to the more modern weapon.

    • I think overall cost has been the main problem as compared to for example the ubiquous Hellfire, especially when you consider the integration costs to replace a similar missile already in service worldwide with a somewhat similar though superior missile yes, but only really required to be so in specialist situations. It’s why there is no move to replace Hellfire on the Reapers. It’s not its quality that’s in doubt that’s for sure.

  2. The US military confirmed that they want the missile at various Senate and other Hearings and their Department of Defence said the money would be found but (as always) the politicians are holding back. We shouldn’t be surprised after the A330 MRTT shafting …

    This is from March 2014 (during Obama’s 2nd term). Note Mr Secretary’s response…

    https://youtu.be/l2hj5USIl6M

  3. This had to be done to cover the aging Tornado fleet because we don’t have any F35s yet. And of course all the money we just spent on putting Brimstone onto the Typhoon will be spent again when we do have some F35s. Someones is making a nice little earner.

    And let’s not mention that the £105,000 missile with a 9kg warhead and capable of destroying a moving tank 60km away is mostly being used for stationary snipers within visual range. What about using a LMM from a drone? Much better than (for example) the £0.5bn spent a few years back on a loitering munition demonstrator project.

    • LMM does seem to be an under-exploited missile for small targets. IN addition to your anti-sniper scenario there could also be naval applications. Upgrading the DS30mm cannon mounts on at least some of the RN & RFA ships would add some decent extra punch. Also, LMM is light enough to be carried on some pretty small drones, a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter has even test fired one. That gives a whole load of extra flexibility and reach even, via containerisation, for relatively small vessels such as the River Batch 2s if they need a capability to chase and engage a RIB on some policing operation (anti-piracy etc) not to mention the much wider surveillance reach that carrying such a drone could give them.

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