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First RAF Typhoon use of Brimstone missile destroys ISIS boat in Syria

A U.K. Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon used a brimstone missile to destroy a boat used by Islamic State in Syria, the RAF said Friday, February 22 release, marking the first time the aircraft has deployed the weapon system.

On February 19, a Typhoon deployed to the Euphrates river “where a boat used by Daesh had been identified and was destroyed using the Brimstone missile,” the release said, adding that the RAF on February 11 destroyed two ISIS strong-points, including a heavy machine-gun position, using Paveway IV laser-guided bombs.

Strikes against ISIS “have decreased in regularity this month, with the terrorists confined to a tiny enclave of territory where there is a significant number of civilians, who are being transported to safety by Syrian Democratic Forces,” it added.

Typhoons were upgraded with Brimstone in January, as the RAF’s Tornado multirole jet fleet nears retirement. Brimstone live firing trials from the aircraft were completed successfully in November 2017.

In March 2018, the U.K awarded MBDA a £400 million contract to produce Brimstone air-to-surface missiles to extend its service life beyond 2030 and integrate the weapons system on RAF Typhoons.

MBDA is jointly owned by BAE Systems, Airbus and Leonardo.

Brimstone missiles
Dual Mode Brimstone air-to-surface missiles carried by a Reaper UAS. A Brimstone training missile is on the left. Image: MBDA

Brimstone is an air-launched ground-attack missile developed by MBDA for the RAF, specifically to target enemy armor. The Brimstone launcher carries three missiles in a single weapon station.

The weapon uses a tandem shaped-charge warhead, making it more effective against modern tanks than similar weapons like the AGM-65G Maverick. The warhead uses a smaller initial charge to initiate reactive armor, followed by a larger charge designed to penetrate the base armor.

Brimstone is used by the U.K.’s Tornado squadrons in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Shader and has also been used on operations in Afghanistan and Libya. The missile entered service in 2005. Laser guidance was added in 2008 to a dual-mode variant after experience in Afghanistan.

The new-build missiles incorporate upgrades to Brimstone that have taken place over recent years, including, enhanced autopilot, the Dual Mode SAL/millimetric wave (mmW) seeker, and the insensitive munition-compliant rocket motor and warhead.

MBDA has said the Brimstone missile is expected to be used by British Army Apache attack helicopters and integrated on the RAF’s new Protector medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs that are replacing MQ-9 Reaper drones. The Protector is a Reaper variant.

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