MBDA Brimstone: Death from Above

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“Upon the wicked He will rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup” - Psalms 11:6

Introduction: The Brimstone missile family is one of the most formidable AGM systems in the world, and represents a technological approach to tackling armoured warfare. Although intended for the Cold War battlefield, it has been used in a number of conflicts against targets it was never intended to destroy, yet despatched them with great accuracy.

Legacy Brimstone:
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Background: The Brimstone story starts in 1987, when Marconi Defence systems proposed a variant of the Hellfire missile with their Marconi Millimetre Wave (MMW) radar head, that was being captive-tested on a helicopter. The MMW had a narrow beam, giving it incredible resistance to ECM systems, as well as the ability to distinguish between targets, and lock on after launch. However, it soon became apparent that the Hellfire was unsuitable for jet operations, so the design team went back to the drawing board and redesigned the entire airframe. This became Brimstone, and apart from a superficial resemblance to the Hellfire, is completely unrelated to it.

Dual-Mode Brimstone:
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Development: SR(A) 1238 was drawn up to provide the RAF with an anti-tank weapon capable of defeating the large volumes of Soviet armour that was expected to be fielded in any conflict. The weapon was also to be futureproofed. There were numerous proposals, including off-the-shelf weapons (or variants of them), dispenser systems, smart munitions, missiles and even a further enhanced BL.755. Brimstone and a dispenser system called SWAARM were chosen for further development in 1988. Despite both weapons offering great promise, SR(A) 1238 was put on the back burner due to the end of the Cold War, two years later. However, experience from Operation Granby brought the need for a new generation anto-weapon back into the spotlight. The requirement was resurrected, notably without the inclusion of dispenser systems, as these had fallen out of favour due to concerns over collateral damage. New missiles were put forward, including a variant of the ASRAAM called Typhoon, and variants of the Maverick. The requirement remained tough, with the need for an all-weather system with night attack capability, that could defeat all known armour systems, as well being adaptable for the destruction of any future threat. This was done in conjunction with a launch from medium or low altitudes at supersonic speeds. The program duration got to the point where the RAF ordered the AGM-65G IIR Maverick as a stop-gap. Of all the systems put forward, Brimstone was deemed the most capable, and selected it for use in 1996 on the Harrier and Tornado. After a ludicrous number of mergers, the project came under the jurisdiction of MBDA, with firing trials commencing in 2000. Although the weapon was put on the back-burner in favour of Storm Shadow in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, development continued steadily, and the missile entered service in 2005.

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Combat Use: Brimstone first saw combat operations during Operation Herrick in 2009, in Afghanistan. Two years later, it was used against a wide variety of vehicles during Operation Ellamy in Libya. The system was also used in Operation Shader against ISIS. Though designed for use against mass tank attacks, the missile proved adept to destroying the technicals of very organisations. The type has also been adapted for ground use for service in Ukraine, with the British having long researched its use as a long-range ATGM.

Variants:
Legacy Brimstone:
The Legacy Brimstone is guided by an MMW seeker that operates at 94GHz, as an active emitter, though GEC-Marconi stated that its low output meant that detection by the target was unlikely. The seeker allowed for the discrimination of targets, allowing the missile to tell the difference between vehicles and structures, as well as specific types of vehicles. As the missile got modernised, it was even able to tell which part of the vehicle would be the best place to be targeted by its tandem-charge warhead. The MMW seeker allows for lock-on-after-launch capability, thus allowing for a salvo firing capability, with target designation done while in flight. In addition to this, the aircraft weapon system allows the missile to be programmed with a signature that can be searched for by the missile, thus improving accuracy further. It has been estimated that the Brimstone is three times more accurate than the Maverick, and a whopping seven times as effective than BL.755. The ability to carry three missiles per pylon allows for a greater number of kills.

Dual-Mode Brimstone:
The Dual-Mode Brimstone emerged from an Urgent Operational Requirement for a Brimstone variant with a “man in the loop” system with an abort capability. Though the MMW seeker was smart, it worked best with moving targets, but it was worried that it would get confused by the large number of returns in a built-up environment.

This was solved with Dual-Mode Brimstone, which kept the MMW radar, but added a semi-active laser seeker head, as well as software updates that allowed for capabilities previously not seen on the Brimstone. These missiles are identifiable by their transparent nosecones.

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Brimstone 2:
An update to the Brimstone system, with a new rocket motor capable of longer ranges.

Sea Spear:
Anti-ship variant of Brimstone 2. The missile is designed for both surface and air launch, with the latter being proven when an RAF Tornado GR.4 successfully destroyed a 6m (20ft) rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB).

Brimstone 3:
An improvement upon the previous variants, adding improved guidance and propulsion systems.

Carried on:
• Panavia Tornado GR.4
• Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4
• BAE Harrier GR.7 ZD318
• BAE Harrier GR.9
• BAE Hawk 100
• General Atomics Reaper/Protector
• Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian

Specifications:

Spoiler
Variant Brimstone Dual Mode Brimstone Brimstone 2 Sea Spear Future Attack Helicopter Weapon
Class ALCM ALCM ALCM ASCM ALCM
Basing Tornado GR.4, Typhoon FGR.4, Harrier GR.9 Tornado GR4, Typhoon FGR.4 Tornado GR4, Typhoon FGR.4, Predator B Fixed-wing and Naval vessels AH-64E Apache Helicopter
Range 8-20 km 8-20 km 40-60 km 8-20 km 20 km
Length 1.8 m 1.8 m 1.8 m 1.8 m 1.8 m
Diameter 0.180 m 0.180 m 0.180 m 0.188 m 0.180 m
Guidance millimeter Wave (mmW) radar mmW, Semi-Active Laser (SAL) mmW, SAL Inertial Navigation, mmW, SAL mmW, SAL
Payload 6.3 kg 6.3 kg 6.3 kg 16 kg N/A
Warhead Tandem Shaped Charge, Command Fuze and Impact Tandem Shaped Charge, Command Fuze and Impact Tandem Shaped Charge, Command Fuze and Impact Tandem Shaped Charge Multi-Effect Charge, Adaptive Fuzing
Status Operational Operational Operational In Development In Development
In service March 31, 2005 December 18, 2008 July 13, 2016 N/A N/A

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Conclusion: As War Thunder becomes more modern, it is only inevitable that such advanced weapons will be added to the game. The Brimstone family will help gain an advantage for the UK air tree, giving a slight edge over other nations, as well as making British aircraft more effective.

Sources:

Spoiler

“British Secret Projects: Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles” by Chris Gibson

“Typhoon to Typhoon: RAF Air Support Projects and Weapons Since 1945” by Chris Gibson

Brimstone Guided Missile - Think Defence

Brimstone | Missile Threat

https://mbdainc.com/products/brimstone/

https://www.army-technology.com/projects/brimstone/

MBDA BRIMSTONE AIR-TO-SURFACE MISSILE INTEGRATION FLIGHT TRIALS CONTINUE FOR RAF EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON - The Aviation Geek Club

https://mezha.media/en/2022/04/22/brimstone-british-high-precision-missiles-for-the-armed-forces-of-ukraine/

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ukraine-shows-devastating-british-made-26968661

File:The Brimstone Missile fitted to a Tornado GR4. MOD 45159236.jpg - Wikipedia

https://mbdainc.com/products/brimstone/

7 Likes

This ordenance will be also carried by the spanish EFAs.

1 Like

Yeah would be interesting to see+1

Something I never understood was how the operator would lock onto a target. If it could be carried by the Harrier then it has to be like a maverick.

Nom Nom Nom. I would have taken these over a top tier fighter I think

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2 Likes

seeing the picture of how many missiles there are loaded on too the harrier would probably make ground forces cry. but would be a beautiful sight

6 Likes

+1, interesting unique and advanced weapon. Its a good idea to put them on all the aircraft listed maybe except the Harrier GR7 to avoid its BR getting brought up past 11.7? IDK

1 Like

+1 really hope it will be added one day, my most favorite AGM :)

In theory, both the Harrier Gr9 and Tornado Gr4 can take a brimstone launcher on all 6 A2G hardpoints. with 3 Brimstones per launcher. So that would be 18 on both.

2 Likes

They denied agm-114l due to the radar system being overpowered in game so i don’t see them adding this either atleast not in near future.

2 Likes

Excellent news! I am happy the Spanish are upgrading their Typhoons with this capability. Unfortunately I hadn’t found anything in English language sources about it so I may have missed it, will update the post if necessary.

I was thinking that the specific GR.7 that carried these could be added as a separate aircraft, in order to give more options for the tree at higher ranks

1 Like

If you need translation ask me.

1 Like

This is a suggestion for a system that I don’t think should be added any time soon, but rather, simply so a suggestion could be ready for future reference for myself and other suggestion makers when suggesting modern vehicles. That being said, I can see this being added at some point in the future

Brimstone in action:

Spoiler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoGKPMmdGDk

Tornado GR4 firing 6x Brimstone in ripple fire. The missile in flight found their own target and coordinated with each other to hit different targets

2 Likes

In WT the misiles will hit the others so no one will hit the target.

Also the grippen have the Brimstone

After a quick google. Looks like Gripen Es would be able to get Brimstones as well

The Gripen E can also be integrated with a number of air-to-surface weapons including unguided Mk82, Mk83 and Mk84 bombs, laser-guided bombs such as GBU-12, GBU-16 and GBU-10, and advanced bombs such as GBU-49 and GBU-39. Air-to-surface missiles such as RBS15F ER, TAURUS KEPD 350, AGM-65 Maverick, and MBDA’s dual-mode Brimstone (DMB) can also be integrated into the Gripen E. - Source

they can, yes

3 Likes

I leave here the two Italian aircraft that can use brimstone. Cheers!

Spoiler

Eurofighter Typhoon (From Trance 2 to Trance 3, plus IPA2 and DA7 Trance 1 development aircrafts)


M346FA

3 Likes

There is also a helicopter from Leonardo carrying Brimstones, AW-149:

Spoiler

3 Likes