Air Weapons: Hellfire and Brimstone Go High Speed


June 30, 2008: Britain has added a dual-mode (radar and laser) seeker to its Brimstone missiles. The Brimstone is basically an American Hellfire with a British seeker (a miniature, millimeter wave, radar). The 107 pound Hellfire/Brimstone has a twenty pound warhead and is particularly popular as armament for larger UAVs and Helicopter gunships. Hellfire was first developed 25 years ago as an anti-tank weapon, but has proved to be very useful against enemy infantry hiding out in buildings or caves. The current version has a range of eight kilometers.

The radar seeker makes it easier to use the missile in "fire and forget" mode. The laser seeker is more accurate (to within a meter or two of the aim point.) The British also use Brimstone on "fast movers" (jet fighters like the Tornado). For this, there is a special launcher that holds three Brimstone missiles. The launcher hangs from one of the Tornado hardpoints. This launcher will also be used on the new Eurofighter.


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