In early October MBDA demonstrated significant progress on the Brimstone 2 development programme with a series of successful firings aimed at proving the performance of the latest guidance system upgrades being added to Brimstone via the UK MoD Brimstone 2 programme.
The trials involved firing five missiles at a series of targets moving at up to and including 70 mph, from a variety of launch conditions including long range and high off-boresight and against targets transiting representative cluttered road environments. Every shot achieved a direct hit on the target.
The Brimstone 2 programme builds on the world class combat proven Dual Mode Brimstone capability, providing significant performance enhancements including:
- A substantial engagement envelope increase (200% increase in off boresight and maximum range capabilities)
- Enhanced laser and dual mode performance against a range of static, fast moving and manoeuvring targets at very long ranges against significantly lower reflectivity targets in highly cluttered environments
- Increased manoeuvrability both for release from fast moving and manoeuvring platforms and to increase further the performance against highly dynamic targets in the end game
All five missiles were fitted with a telemetry system in lieu of a warhead to provide the necessary performance evidence for the guidance chain. The telemetry system confirmed that each missile performed perfectly throughout. Each missile flew the optimum trajectory, immediately acquiring the laser returns confirming the enhanced long range laser performance, fused and correlated the laser and MMW RF radar target tracks and then used the MMW radar to ensure no escape and a direct hit.
Brimstone demonstrated its precision and low collateral capability against a range of armoured, non-armoured, static and fast moving and manoeuvring targets in support of RAF operations in Libya and continues to do so in Afghanistan.
These capabilities to now engage targets at longer ranges, higher altitudes, and at high off-boresight angles, even with high platform bank angles, ensures optimum flexibility and survivability for the platform, whilst minimising the process and time to engage time sensitive targets. The aircrew can stand off at vastly longer ranges, engage targets from a Close Air Support (CAS) wheel without the need to revert to straight and level flight, and all the time have the confidence that the missile has the precision to hit the target irrespective of target speed and manoeuvre, especially in real world cluttered environments.