Aerial Warfare

German Air Force Boosts Arsenal with Brimstone Missiles for Eurofighters

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German Air Force Boosts Arsenal with Brimstone Missiles for Eurofighters

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German Air Force Boosts Arsenal with Brimstone Missiles for Eurofighters
German Air Force Boosts Arsenal with Brimstone Missiles for Eurofighters

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) is set to equip its Eurofighter Typhoon jets with Brimstone anti-tank guided missiles. The procurement plan, outlined by Germany’s defense authorities, includes the acquisition of 274 Brimstone missiles manufactured by the European defense company, MBDA. The decision to integrate Brimstone missiles into the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet signifies a significant advancement in Germany’s defense capabilities. The Brimstone, known for its precision and effectiveness in anti-tank warfare, is poised to elevate the German Air Force’s striking power against surface targets. The impending contract for the acquisition of Brimstone missiles is anticipated to be finalized in the second quarter of this year, marking a crucial step in bolstering Germany’s military preparedness.

Brimstone is a ground or air-launched ground attack missile developed by MBDA UK for the UK’s Royal Air Force.[9] It was originally intended for “fire-and-forget” use against mass formations of enemy armour, using a millimetre wave (mmW) active radar homing seeker to ensure accuracy even against moving targets.Brimstone has a 6.3 kg (14 lb) tandem shaped-charge warhead employing a smaller initial charge around 100 g (0.22 lb), designed to initiate reactive armour, followed by a larger, more destructive 6.2 kg (14 lb) charge, designed to penetrate and defeat the base armour. It was estimated that Brimstone would be several times more effective than the AGM-65G Maverick against modern tanks, and 20 times more effective than the BL755 cluster bomb. In combat, Brimstone has demonstrated accuracy and reliability “both well above 90 percent” according to the Ministry of Defence.

Brimstone air-launched ground attack missiles.
Brimstone air-launched ground attack missiles. (Photo by MBDA)

Each launch system carries three missiles on rails. This allows a single aircraft to carry large numbers of missiles; for example, a Typhoon fighter could carry up to six launch systems, which gives a maximum payload of eighteen Brimstone missiles, in addition to a useful air-to-air payload. The missile was carried by the Tornado GR4 aircraft in RAF service. In February 2014 the National Audit Office warned of a possible capability gap under existing plans to fit Brimstone to Typhoon in 2021, two years after the Tornado retired; in June 2014 the MoD announced a study to accelerate this to 2018 and look at a common launcher that could also launch SPEAR Cap 3. MBDA has fired test rounds from an MQ-9 Reaper drone and is studying the use of Brimstone on attack helicopters and from surface launchers.

Brimstone is a “fire-and-forget” missile, which is loaded with targeting data by the weapon systems officer (WSO) prior to launch. It is programmable to adapt to particular mission requirements. This capability includes the ability to find targets within a certain area, and to self-destruct if it is unable to find a target within the designated area. The Brimstone has the capacity to determine where on a target to best impact causing the most damage. The missile’s advanced sensor package includes its extremely high frequency millimetric wave radar, which allows the weapon to image the target and hence choose a target location. With as many as twenty-four missiles in the air, the missile’s targeting system also required an algorithm to ensure that missiles hit their targets in a staggered order, rather than all simultaneously.

Brimstone air-launched ground attack missile
Brimstone air-launched ground attack missile. (Photo by MBDA)

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