The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to BAE Systems to support the integration of the Brimstone 2 air-to-surface missiles onto the Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft.
Under the terms of the £5m study contract, the company will deliver an effective route to the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) for equipping the Typhoons with MBDA Brimstone 2 missile by 2018.
BAE will also study if a common launcher can be used for multiple weapons stores, such as the selective precision effects at range 3 (SPEAR 3) capability.
The RAF aims to integrate Brimstone 2 capabilities in Typhoon before the retirement of the Panavia Tornado GR.4 in 2019.
BAE will transition the Dual Mode Brimstone (DMB) capability to Typhoon utilising the Brimstone 2 missile; Brimstone 2 is an upgraded version of the DMS Brimstone weapon.
BAE Systems chief test pilot Mark Bowman said the Brimstone 2 weapon offers uncompromising precision and a flexible capability that addresses the emerging threats of modern warfare.
"The Typhoon pilot will be able to confidently engage a wide range of target types including fast moving vehicles," Bowman said.
"When integrated Brimstone 2 will be another significant development step for Typhoon, enhancing the aircraft's credentials and relevancy going forward."
BAE is currently evaluating the aerodynamic properties of Brimstone through a series of wind tunnel tests at its facility in Warton, Lancashire, UK.
Brimstone 2 has been developed to suit high-speed winds over land and sea, and is expected to enhance the swing-role capability of the Typhoon.
The missile has already proven its worth as a low collateral, close air support weapon during RAF's combat operations in Afghanistan and Libya.
In May, Eurofighter has announced enhancements to Typhoon to enable the aircraft seamlessly switch between air-to-air and air-to-ground modes.
Image: A Eurofighter Typhoon swing role combat aircraft. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.