The Advanced Air-launched Anti-Armour Weapon (AAAW), known as Brimstone, is an area weapon to attack enemy armoured forces as early and as far forward as possible. It replaces the BL755 cluster bomb in the anti-armour role, and will be carried by Tornado GR4/4a, Harrier GR7/9 and Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Royal Air Force
sought a replacement for the BL755 weapon that was becoming increasingly
ineffective against modern armour. It was to be carried on Tornado
GR4/4A, Harrier GR7/T10, and Typhoon and be capable of defeating the present and
future battlefield threat. It had to be totally autonomous after
launch (fire and forget), and operate night or day in all weather conditions.
BRIMSTONE - DERIVED FROM THE US ARMY HELLFIRE MISSILE
Brimstone is derived from
the US Army Hellfire AGM-114F missile with a weapon comprising three
missiles and a launcher. Powered by a rocket motor it can seek and destroy
targets many kilometres from launch point. Ground acquisition and target
recognition are achieved by a milli-metric wave radar seeker developed
by GMRDS. Steerable fins guide the missile towards the target with final
impact causing a tandem charge warhead to detonate. The first, smaller
warhead nullifies reactive armour allowing the follow through charge
to penetrate the main armour.
In June 1999, Alenia Marconi Systems announced the award of a contract to Defence Munitions, Beith, for the assembly of Brimstone missiles. The award of this sub-contract represents the successful achievement of another milestone in the programme.
On 30 November 1999, the
announcement was made that British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic
Systems had merged to become British Aerospace Systems with a 50 % interest in Alenia Marconi Systems. Alenia Marconi Systems is an
equal shares joint venture company between Finmeccanica of Italy and
GEC of the United Kingdom and is teamed with Boeing for the development
and production of the Brimstone system.