MBDA has conducted static tests and airborne captive seeker trials of its Brimstone missile in the maritime environment as part of ongoing conceptual work on a possible air-launched anti-shipping variant.

It is also studying potential replacement of the existing Brim-stone tandem anti-armour warhead with a blast fragmentation payload.

MBDA says, however, that the existing tandem warhead may prove sufficiently flexible to allow it to be used as the basis of a dual- mode missile which can be role-selected before launch. The missiles onboard mission system would be adapted to support two sets of guidance algorithms with the mode selected by the carriage aircraft pilot.

The software-based approach could allow for development of further modes, with additional algorithms loaded direct to the missile guidance computer from the carriage aircraft mission system.

The company says sea trials of the Brimstone seeker have generated baseline radar picture and prototype algorithmic data that indicate an anti-shipping role is feasible.

Brimstone is due to enter service on Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR4 aircraft in 2004.

Source: Flight International