MBDA’s Brimstone precision strike missile is being planned as the UK’s guided missile solution for the Royal Air Force’s Protector Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) programme. If confirmed, the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Certifiable Predator B will enter service with the British weapon.
The integration plan is included as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Main Gate selection of the aircraft and, if agreed, the missile will be integrated and fielded in line with the platform’s introduction to service.
The RAF wants to acquire up to 26 Protectors to replace its current fleet of Reapers, which are normally armed with GBU-12 500lb laser-guided bombs and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
MBDA will now work together with the UK MoD, US DoD and GA-ASI towards a programme which would see the missile undergo integration onto the Air System with trials and firings towards the end of the decade. The missile has already successfully completed a series of trial firings on the MQ-9 Reaper during early 2014 that saw the weapon engaging 70mph and manoeuvring targets with extreme precision.
The missile promises to arm Protector with the ability to strike fast-moving, manoeuvring targets with both man in the loop post-launch guidance and also autonomous post-launch all-weather capabilities.
Brimstone is currently being integrated onto the Typhoon jet whilst MBDA and Boeing have also successfully completed a series of physical trials and firings of Brimstone on the AH-64E attack helicopter to confirm the feasibility of integrating the missile with the United Kingdom’s future Apache AH-64E fleet.