We’ve all heard of the Hellfire missile, the primary weapon of the AH-64D Apache helicopter. Goodness knows, we’ve showed enough videos here of Hellfires landing on the heads of jihadis in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Britain liked the Hellfire. They have used them for years on their own fleet of Apaches. In fact, they liked it so much, they wanted to adapt it to be used from their fast jet fleet. But Britain also wanted to get away from the Hellfire’s semi-active laser seeker, and instead use a “fire and forget” millimeter-wavelength radar seeker.

Eventually, the redesigned missile, now known as Brimstone (which, yeah, the next logical name after hellfire), entered service in 2005. But it also became apparent that the positive control of a semi-active laser seeker was a handy feature. Accordingly, the Brits cleverly designed a “dual mode” seeker, allowing the shooter to fire in either millimeter-wave mode, or laser mode.  In radar mode, it can be ripple fired to engage multiple targets.  In fact, our Navy is looking closely at Brimstone to counter swarming boat attacks.

The British used Brimstone with good results throughout the campaign in Libya.

H/T to Dave at The Aviationist.

3 thoughts on “Brimstone”

  1. The initial design was a fire and forget anti armour weapon with a very sophisticated radar image matching and flight control system.

    It didn’t have the dual mode seeker, that came much later.

    Although it can be said to have its roots in the Hellfire design, it is entirely different apart from the control fins, those being the only thing that is common

    Get the full history here

    Big Safari and MBDA have just released some imagery of a successful flight test from the Reaper

    MBDA have also tested a version against small craft called Sea Spear

    I think it would be fair to say there is a big sales push on!

  2. I recall reading sometime back in the late 1970s ( in International Combat Arms?) that the Hellfire was going to have optical contrast tracking and imaging Infrared variants. These would have made it a genuine fire and forget system allowing the launching aircraft to immediately take evasive action and/or seek another target without relying on other airborne or ground based laser designators. Back when hordes of Soviet tanks swarming over Europe was considered a real threat (nothing like today of course) this would have made a lot of sense.

    What happened? Diameter too skinny? Cost too fat? Today’s imaging radar is an even better idea of course, but I imagine that would have been science fiction back then.

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