The US State Department has authorised a British purchase of three hundred and ninety-five AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles for an estimated cost of $46 million.

The system provides heavy anti-armour capability for attack helicopters and Remotely Piloted Air Systems, the missile has a range of 8km and a 9kg warhead.

Since being fielded, the missiles have been used in combat by various nations around the globe and in British service have been been fired from Apache attack helicopters and Reaper unmanned aircraft.

According to a contract authorisation notice:

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Kingdom three hundred ninety-five (395) AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles with support for an estimated cost of $46 million.  The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of the United Kingdom has requested to buy three hundred ninety-five (395) AGM-114R2 Hellfire missiles.  Also included is technical assistance, publications, integration support, and other related elements of logistics and program support.  The estimated total cost is $46 million. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO Ally which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.

The proposed sale will improve the United Kingdom’s ability to meet current and future threats by replacing expiring and unserviceable missiles and maintaining capability to execute missions across a full range of military operations.  The United Kingdom will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orlando, Florida.  The purchaser typically requests offsets.  Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor. Implementation of this proposed will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the United Kingdom. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.”

It is important to note that this notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

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Ian
Ian
1 month ago

Is there a cheaper weapon to take out a Toyota Hilux ?

Nick
Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

I would say Martlet/LMM would be ideal for taking out a Hilux and a lot cheaper, however at the moment I believe it is only planned to be fitted to RN Wildcats. The 30mm gun on the Apache would also work well, although I guess that would put the aircraft more likely in harm.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

Yes, for an attack from an aircraft, close up would be either a 30mm cannon on the Apache, or the 27mm on Typhoon. From distance there are a number of options, these are the LMM(Martlet), APKWS and CVR7PG. All three have an effective range of about 8km. The Martlet is a viable alternative, but either of the 70mm rockets with the precision guidance kits fitted to CVR-7 or Hydra are a much cheaper solution.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

Isn’t it horses for courses? The UK has spent significant sums integrating Martlet into helecopters over and above, as I read it, the development of Martlet itself. So if it’s low cost per unit, the overall development cost must be significant.

One presumes that Hellfire is aimed at heavier targets and the cost of 46 mil, at about 117, 000 each, is less than the 90mil cost of integrating Martlet into 28 Wildcat helicopters (say ThinkDefence).

Brimstone is similar cost to Hellfire (?) But has a longer range.

So is it all horses, courses and apples, oranges etc…?

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

An AGM-114R goes for about $116,000 per unit. A Brimstone about $225,000.

Dejango
Dejango
30 days ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

The Yanks are paying $70k per missile, why are theycosting us 65% more per missile?

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

90 mil to integrate Martlet, that’s outrageous. No wonder we have so few fking missiles and so few Helecopters. There are times I think we would be better buying everything off the shelf from the US. We would more than double the amount of armoured vehicles, aircraft and missiles we have at our disposal. Quadruple that if you include the amount spent on R&D.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

Yes I thought that too. So maybe the source is wrong.

HF
HF
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

Let’s subordinate ourselves to the USA in every aspect of defence. Not like they’d pass the McMahon act, is it ?

Olympus200
Olympus200
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

Sovereignty doesn’t come cheap. Personally I think it’s worth having, not least because of potential exports. Once more we can learn from the French.

Herodotus
29 days ago
Reply to  Olympus200

Absolutely, no more brown nosing those that would have us as slaves!

Simon Lees
Simon Lees
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

Good question. Unguided rocket pods used to be all the rage in the cold war!

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Lees

But not so accurate, so several need firing & even then may all miss.

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

Guids versions of the 68mm aircraft rocket?

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

A packet of nails from B&Q should do the trick…!! 🙂

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago

So am I wrong to suggest Brimstone cannot take out heavy armour? Is Brimstone not based on hellfire?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

It was designed as an anti-tank missile. The shaped-charge warhead weighs only 14 pounds and is optimized to penetrate armour rather than throwing out shrapnel over a wide area.

It can be used on either the Apache or Typhoon and has dual-mode laser and millimetre wave guidance.

It will require the Block 4 software update before it can be used on the F35B

Brimstone 3 is undergoing testing at present and is due to enter service in the mid 2020s I believe.

https://www.mbda-systems.com/press-releases/mbda-conducts-first-brimstone-3-firing/

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Thanks Nigel,
As previous posts on the subject it seems to be an integration problem on US kit.

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

Yes the cost of integrating Brimstone on some platforms has not been deemed worthwhile sadly. As you say American ones for the most part which of course are (in these cases) already integrated with Hellfire.

Spencer
Spencer
1 month ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

The Birmstone has been successfully test fired from an AH-64E, in 2016. Since the UK fleet of the E variant will only be adopted from 2022 onward, we might yet see Brimstone integrated in that time to the E platform (one can hope at least).

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

To add to Nigel’s post. Brimestone has a programmable precision effects warhead. This is because Brimestone, originally designed for aircraft such as Harrier and Tornado to take out massed numbers of tanks in one pass. It has developed into a true multi-use weapon. So can now target not only tanks, but UAVs, helicopters, bunkers, fast attack boats and has the precision to be guided through windows on buildings. The warhead has various modes, like Hellfire it can be used as a top attack weapon or as a direct attack. But it can also detonate at a specified time and in… Read more »

Ian
Ian
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Thank you for this answer Dave

Geoff
Geoff
1 month ago

Whats wrong with Brimstone suddenly ??

Dave G
Dave G
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff

Probably the large amount of money the uk would have to pay Boeing to integrate it with apache and jump through all the hoops needed to certify it for use…. i doubt the software is sufficiently close in brimstone and hellfire to be plug and play even if it can be bolted on and dropped easily.

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff

I don’t think it is integrated onto our Apaches. Test firings done a few years back but not full integration as far as I can see.

expat
expat
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

I think for the RAF Reapers we’ve only tested Brimstone but still use the Hellfire. Happy to be corrected on this.

Nick
Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff

I don’t think Brimstone is yet integrated on Apache and is not planned to be integrated on Reaper (although it has been tested and will be integrated on Protector).

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

Hi Nick,

First test firings were completed in 2016, enjoy the launch!

Brimstone missile on Apache AH-64E
1 Aug 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUbdkLnh1kA

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff

Nothing other than the cost per missile possibly compared to Hellfire?

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff

I don’t believe there is a Ginzu knife version of the Brimstone yet lol

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

US Army is deploying Israeli Spike long range version in their AH-64, they want more range that Hellfire cannot provide, also makes possible to firing behind a hill.

expat
expat
1 month ago

Seems a bit one sided relationship the UK as tried several times in the last decade to get the US interested in Brimestone. I guess it would have been a threat to US defence companies had the US ordered Brimstone in any numbers as it would have driven the price down and created a very competitive missile.

Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

A one sided relationship? Of course it is, and ever shall be!

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Don’t tell that to Brit companies like BAE that make a fortune off the US military.

lee1
lee1
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

Those are US subsidiaries so pretty much US companies.

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

I fear that you have a point there, though equally I am sure in their testing of it they have taken great notice of that which makes Brimstone so capable. Indeed didn’t we read here a while back (it may have been a contributor mind) that the US is building similar capabilities into a future missile. They do like to control their inventory as deeply as possible which I think you see reflected in their dealings with the Israelis on weapon systems. Further if indeed Brimstone was a serious rival on the World market to Hellfire (and read the Gump… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

It comes down to one very simple thing, military expenditure creates jobs and politicians will always want them jobs to be in their area as it will win votes. This is just much more impactful in the US where the expenditure is significantly more than in the UK. That combined with the backhanders/promises of board places and jobs that defense companies give to the politicians to help with their post political life.

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  expat

US is already producing the JAGM duel mode missile that will eventually replace the Hellfire.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
1 month ago

Brimstone? Same old story US always putting spokes in the wheels to delay non US weapon integration
Even if brimstone costs more, it is more advanced and it is money spent into UK economy!

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

US is exactly the only country that hasn’t bought Brimstone. AFAIK only a couple Arab countries have bought it for use with their Typhoons. So quit the hissy fit, not everything that comes out of the UK is marvelous.

HF
HF
1 month ago

At that price I’ll have half a dozen me self !

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago

Hellfire comes in many variants, laser seaker, dual seeker, tandem warhead, FAE -type warhead but if you want a low collateral damage hellfire for taking out a Hilux you need the AGM-114R9X Hellfire . No warhead or explosives inside it except for the rocket motor. What It does have instead 6 x 50cm sword blades that pop out around the body of the missile just prior to it hitting. It is literally a surgical strike weapon made for decapitation of leadership targets. This was the missile that was used to take down the Iranian general a few months ago in… Read more »

john
john
1 month ago

Why not 400, we always seem to end up with odd numbers.

Matt C
Matt C
30 days ago
Reply to  john

Perhaps because existing stocks are not used up in nice round numbers…

Andy
Andy
1 month ago

If we are offering 50 Apaches to NATO this makes sense.