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March 25, 2014

MBDA conducts Brimstone live fire trials from MQ-9 Reaper

MBDA has successfully conducted live-firing of its Dual Mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile from the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, US.

Brimstone misile

MBDA has successfully conducted live-firing of its Dual Mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile from the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, US.

The trials were undertaken on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence by the Royal Air Force’s Air Warfare Centre Unmanned Air Systems Test and Evaluation Squadron, Defence Equipment & Support Weapons Operating Centre, US Air Force’s BIG SAFARI Organisation, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and MBDA.

During the trials, the Dual Mode BRIMSTONE missile scored nine direct hits against a range of targets, including very high speed and manoeuvring vehicles during the trials.

Engagements were conducted against static, accelerating, weaving, fast and very fast vehicle targets, of which two more challenging scenarios were against trucks travelling at 70mph in a crossing target scenario.

The trials met all of the RAF’s primary and secondary objectives, demonstrating the integration functionality implemented, safe carriage, safe release, system targeting and end game performance, while gathering data to support optimisation and clearance activities.

The testing started with captive carry of avionics and environmental data gathering missiles, followed by a series of live operational missile and inert telemetry missile firings, from realistic ‘middle of the envelope’ profiles, typically 20,000ft release altitude and 7km-12km plan range.

"The testing started with captive carry of avionics and environmental data gathering missiles."

The tracking and designation of targets were conducted in a mixture of auto-track and manual-track modes, the latter in some situations to demonstrate how the integrated semi-active laser (SAL) and active MMW radar seeker worked in tandem, even while tracking and designating targets manually over SATCOM.

The testing, along with ongoing and contracted RAF trials against maritime fast inshore attack craft, further broadens the missile’s ability to deliver a true multi-role and multi-platform land/maritime attack capability for fast jets, RPA, multi-mission and maritime patrol aircraft, rotary wing platforms and surface platforms.

Brimstone already demonstrated its ability to engage high off-boresight, targets travelling at up to 70mph, while operating from Tornado GR4 aircarft in October 2013.


Image: A Dual Mode Brimstone missile intercepting a 70mph target. Photo: © Big Safari 2014.

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