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.
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.”
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.
Brimstone is a lightweight (50 kg) strike missile with an advanced dual-mode mmW/SAL seeker offering a unique capability of engaging a wide range of target types, including fast moving vehicles / vessels in both land and naval environments and in both direct and indirect modes.
Operationally proven with unequalled mission success rates across multiple theatres, Brimstone has proved to be the weapon of choice with its ability to perform surgical strikes in time and collateral critical missions.
MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air).
With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2017 MBDA achieved revenue of 3.1 billion euros with an order book of 16.8 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is jointly owned by Airbus (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%), and Leonardo (25%).