The first live firing of MBDA’s Brimstone air-to-surface missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon has been successfully completed as part of ongoing development work to significantly upgrade the capability of the aircraft. The trial is part of work to integrate the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon, which will also deliver further sensor and mission system upgrades.
The P3E package forms part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the Royal Air Force.
The UK’s IPA (Instrumented Production Aircraft) 6 Typhoon conducted the firing with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo. It was designed to test the separation of the low-collateral, high-precision Brimstone weapon when it is released. In total, nine firings will take place to expand the launch and range capabilities.
The initial firing follows completion of a series of around 40 flight trials earlier this year, some of them conducted alongside pilots from the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron - the Test and Evaluation Squadron - in a Combined Test Team approach.
Volker Paltzo, CEO for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said: “The successful completion of this trial is an important step towards integration of the weapon on to the aircraft. Brimstone will provide the Typhoon pilot with the ability to precisely attack fast-moving targets at range, further enhancing the aircraft’s already highly potent air-to-surface capabilities.”
Andy Flynn, BAE Systems Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, added: “Through the dedicated work of our teams, and with support from our partners, we have been able to reach this milestone in a short space of time. We will now continue to work alongside the Royal Air Force and our partner companies in a joint approach to ensure we successfully deliver this package of enhancements into service.”
Andy Bradford, MBDA Director of Typhoon Integration, said: “This first firing is a major milestone for both the Brimstone and Typhoon programmes. Together Brimstone and Typhoon will provide the Royal Air Force and other Eurofighter nations with a world-beating strike capability to beyond 2040.”
The successful trial follows completion earlier this year of the flight trials programme for the MBDA Storm Shadow deep strike air-to-surface weapon and the MBDA Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air missile. Operational testing and evaluation of those capabilities is currently ongoing with the Royal Air Force ahead of entry into service in 2018.