European guided weapons house MBDA has received a contract for the integration of its Brimstone high-precision strike missile onto the Royal Air Force’s Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted aircraft developed and manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. Earlier in 2018, the UK MoD announced a £400 million contract with MBDA for the capability sustainment programme (CSP) of Brimstone missile, to build new missiles and extend this missile’s service life beyond 2030. The UK is the lead customer for the Protector RG Mk.1 and is expected it enters Royal Air Force (RAF ) service in the early 2020s.
Brimstone and Protector RG Mk1 will provide key new capabilities to the Royal Air Force’s ISTAR force, enabling them to engage high-speed moving and manoeuvring targets (including maritime fast attack craft for the first time). The Protector RG Mk1 can carry three lightweight Brimstones per weapon station, and so offers a much higher loadout than the Reaper platform it will replace.
Integration of Brimstone onto Protector RG Mk1 (which is the weaponised version of MQ-9B SkyGuardian) follows a series of successful firing trials of Brimstone from the Reaper/Predator B aircraft in the United States that demonstrated the advancement in performance that Brimstone offers. Brimstone integration will be completed in time for the entry to service of the aircraft with the RAF.
James Allibone, MBDA’s UK Sales Director, said: “Protector RG Mk1 is the third UK air platform to benefit from the unmatched capabilities of the Brimstone missile, providing UK Armed Forces with vital operational advantages and sovereign defence capabilities. Brimstone is unique in its ability to be carried by platforms in all domains, land, sea and air, providing a common weapon that delivers both operational and cost benefits. Commonality is a key part of all MBDA’s latest systems, and is a major contributor to the £1.7 billion in savings that the partnership approach between the UK MoD and MBDA has generated.”