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MBDA tests Brimstone air-to-ground missile's maritime strike capability

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The Brimstone and ALARM missile on a Tornado GR4 fighter. An MBDA photo

PARIS (BNS): The MBDA-built dual mode Brimstone air-launched ground attack missile has validated its capability to engage fast moving, manoeuvring target in the sea during test firings conducted in Mar-April this year.

The test firings, conducted at the Aberporth range in west Wales, UK, involved a Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR4 aircraft.

The fighter jet fired two dual mode Brimstone missiles, one telemetry and one operational, against two Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC). Each missile was fitted with MBDA's latest anti-FIAC software upgrades.

While the telemetry missile scored a direct hit on the FIAC's engines with the target moving at a maximum speed, the operational missile too achieved a direct hit at the rear of the second FIAC's cabin, destroying and sinking the target, MBDA said.

Missile impact occurred whilst the target was within very close proximity to three neutral vessels. The target was destroyed and sunk with the single shot without any collateral damage to the neutral vessels, the company said, highlighting the missile's capability to take on maritime targets even in a cluttered environment.

"These tests confirmed dual mode Brimstone's first pass precision and lethality against challenging targets in stressing environments. The dual mode semi-active laser and active MMW (millimetric wave) radar seeker works in tandem to provide a unique ability to selectively engage a specific target irrespective of target speed or manoeuvre even when in cluttered, congested and high collateral risk environments," the company said.

The Brimstone missile is presently deployed on the RAF's Tornado fighters.

Meanwhile, MBDA has also announced that serial production of its new Brimstone 2 missile has started at the Lostock and Henlow manufacturing facilities in England.

The improved missile incorporates a new radar and semi active laser dual mode seeker, an Insensitive Munition (IM) rocket motor and warhead, and a new and stronger airframe for increased air carriage robustness.

The missile will enter service with RAF's Tornado GR4s and is now contracted to be evaluated for integration on the Typhoon fighter as well following an initial study contract awarded by the UK Defence Ministry to BAE Systems on June 23, 2014.

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