MBDA in the UK has won a prestigious 2014 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category for developing an extra guidance mode for the Brimstone radar guided anti-armour missile. The converted weapon becomes the Dual Mode Brimstone and is a great British success story of innovation and enterprise. This has been accomplished through a combination of technical advances, cost effectiveness and the re-use of existing Brimstone missiles already in the Royal Air Force (RAF) inventory.
It provides crews of RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft with a world-leading, low-collateral, precision strike capability, including use in cluttered urban environments where surgical accuracy is paramount. There is nothing comparable in-service in the world today.
The Dual Mode Brimstone has its target laser designated by the aircrew, whilst the retention of the radar provides the necessary accuracy more effectively than a laser only system in the terminal phase of the missile flight. This allows opponents in fast-moving vehicles to be engaged, thereby giving the best of both guidance methods and allowing adherence with strict Rules of Engagement.
The innovation stretched beyond the new technological features as these were achieved without significantly increasing the complexity of the seeker. 80% of the original seeker design remained intact and the new dual mode seeker was tested using the same test limits that had been applied to the original design, thereby enabling existing stock of the original Brimstone weapon to be upgraded to the Dual Mode Brimstone standard. This was achieved at a fraction of the cost of procuring a new weapon system and in significantly reduced timescales. The system was available when most needed by the RAF as MBDA were able to replenish stocks quickly during simultaneous military operations in Libya and Afghanistan because it is a UK-sourced weapon and MBDA had a surge production capability.
Welcoming the news of the award, MBDA’s Executive Group Director Technical and Managing Director UK, Steve Wadey said, “As the highest business award in the UK, an accolade of this significance and recognition is a tremendous achievement and one that we take huge pride in. The technology at the heart of Dual Mode Brimstone is truly world beating and is symbolic of the difference innovation can make for our Customers and the crucial role MBDA products have in delivering enhanced military effectiveness.”