April 20, 2011

Interest Grows In Dual-Mode Brimstone

(Avaitionweek) : The operational success the U.K. Royal Air Force has had with MBDA’s dual-mode Brimstone is driving U.S. and French interest in the munition, says the RAF’s assistant chief of the air staff, Air Vice Marshal Baz North.
The dual-mode weapon has been among the main munitions the RAF Tornado GR4 has been relying on during Libya operations.
The initial discussions with the French have begun, although they are at an early stage.
Still unclear is which French and U.S. platforms might launch the weapons. Dual-mode Brimstone is a Hellfire-class weapon, which should ease integration on new aircraft.
The dual-mode Brimstone has been used so heavily that inventory has become a concern—the weapon is modified out of a large existing stock of regular Brimstones. However, a senior NATO official notes that no missions have been scrapped owing to munitions shortages.
Although the dual-mode Brimstone has been well received, the U.K. for now has no plans to accelerate its fielding on the other U.K. fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon. So far, the defense ministry has yet to award an integration contract for that weapon.

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