Naval ver­sion of MBDA’S Brim­stone mis­sile fired suc­cess­fully

SP's MAI - - MILITARY - [ By Lt Gen­eral (Retd) Naresh Chand ]

RAF al­ready arms its Tor­na­does with Dual Mode Brim­stone air-to-sur­face mis­siles which have been very suc­cess­ful in Afghanistan and Libya. It is un­der­stood that US is con­sid­er­ing it for em­ploy­ment with Reaper UCAV. The mis­sile is pow­ered by a rocket mo­tor and can seek and de­stroy tar­gets at long range. It is a day and night, all-weather mis­sile sys­tem which is ef­fec­tive against ex­plo­sive re­ac­tive ar­mour. It is also ‘fire-and-for­get’ weapon sys­tem and has been in ser­vice with RAF since 2005.

Sea Spear

MBDA Mis­sile Sys­tems has now adapted the Brim­stone mis­sile, to counter fast at­tack craft while em­bed­ded on a naval ves­sel, called Brim­stone Sea Spear. It was first suc­cess­fully tested dur­ing April this year against a sin­gle static fast in-shore at­tack craft (FIAC). The mis­sile car­ried a teleme­try unit in­stead of a war­head for col­lect­ing bal­lis­tic data. The sys­tem ac­quired and iden­ti­fied the tar­get fol­lowed by a suc­cess­ful di­rect hit which sank the tar­get. This was fol­lowed by an­other fir­ing on May 29 dur­ing which a salvo of three Brim­stone Sea Spear mis­siles were fired in rapid salvo against a sim­u­lated at­tack for­ma­tion of five rep­re­sen­ta­tive FIACs, in­clud­ing four moored and one mov­ing re­motely-pow­ered ves­sel. The mov­ing ves­sel’s speed was 20 knots (37 kmph). The three mis­siles ac­quired and en­gaged their re­spec­tive tar­gets at a dis­tance of be­tween four and five kilo­me­tres due to fir­ing range safety re­stric­tions.

The mis­sile tracks the tar­get with a mil­lime­tre wave seeker which can even track tar­gets screened by sea waves. The mis­sile sys­tem has been de­signed as a fire-and-for­get mis­sile that can elim­i­nate swarm­ing tar­gets au­tonomously. The mis­sile is can­is­ter launched that can be mounted on a build­ing or a naval ves­sel as small as 14 me­tres. Dou­glas Den­neny, Vice Pres­i­dent for MBDA based in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., said that the Sea Spear could pro­tect the US Navy’s new Lit­toral Com­bat Ship fleet from the fast at­tack boats of the Ira­nian Navy. The sys­tem pro­vides ef­fec­tive mar­itime force pro­tec­tion ca­pa­bil­ity be­yond the range of medium cal­i­bre naval gun sys­tems.

MBDA ex­ec­u­tives said that the pro­gramme is cur­rently fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing the Brim­stone Sea Spear mis­sile for de­ploy­ment from a sur­face/ves­sel based plat­form, how­ever it can be adapted for air­borne and other plat­forms.

MBDA’s fu­tur­is­tic so­lu­tion for In­di­rect Pre­ci­sion At­tack ca­pa­bil­ity

MBDA has de­vel­oped CVS302 Hoplite that is de­signed to pro­vide an In­di­rect Pre­ci­sion At­tack ca­pa­bil­ity for land and naval ar­tillery by 2035 and be­yond. This rep­re­sents the fourth and lat­est of MBDA’s an­nual Con­cept Vi­sions projects. The Hoplite sys­tem con­sists of a mis­sion con­trol sys­tem, and two mis­sile vari­ants, Hoplite-S and Hoplite-L, both of which can fly 70 km in un­der two min­utes at low al­ti­tude or up to 160 km at high al­ti­tude in un­der four min­utes when there is no ob­sta­cle. Hoplite’s ‘one shot one kill pre­ci­sion’ sim­pli­fies op­er­a­tions while re­duc­ing col­lat­eral dam­age risk and mis­sion cost. Hoplite’s mis­sion con­trol guides the op­er­a­tor who main­tains ex­ec­u­tive con­trol. Plan­ning tar­get en­gage­ment times are vastly re­duced by au­tomat­ing the tra­jec­tory plan­ning and col­lat­eral dam­age risk mod­el­ling. Op­ti­mised mis­sion so­lu­tions vary­ing in pri­or­i­ties such as time to tar­get or sur­viv­abil­ity are pro­vided to the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer. All pro­cess­ing takes place on a tablet sized com­puter that is gen­er­ally lo­cated with the ar­tillery fire di­rec­tion cen­tre or warship’s com­mand and con­trol cen­tre or can also be lo­cated with a sin­gle launcher. The sys­tem can be adapted to a va­ri­ety of plat­forms.

Hoplite-S: Hoplite-S is a 3.2-me­tre-long, 120 kg ‘util­ity’ mis­sile for sim­ple, sup­ported en­gage­ments. It has a ver­sa­tile spot-scan­ning ladar (laser radar) seeker that also pro­vides semi ac­tive laser (SAL) de­tec­tion among other func­tions. As the mis­sile is ei­ther des­ig­nated by a third party or at­tacks on cal­cu­lated co­or­di­nates, its ladar is used for ac­quir­ing pin­point ac­cu­racy. The one-way data link (re­ceiver) al­lows mis­sion up­dates and re-task­ing. Hoplite-S can be used in more com­plex sce­nar­ios with tar­get­ing as­sis­tance from Hoplite-L.

Hoplite-L: It is a 3.75-me­tre, 135-kg mis­sile de­signed for com­plex and iso­lated en­gage­ments that re­quire an op­er­a­tor in the loop (OITL) ca­pa­bil­ity. Its multi-mode seeker al­lows pas­sive and ac­tive 3D imag­ing, and is ro­bust enough to over­come ad­verse weather con­di­tions, heav­ily clut­tered en­vi­ron­ment and coun­ter­mea­sures. The mis­sile can de­cel­er­ate to sub­sonic speeds to pro­vide time for OITL tar­get­ing over its two-way datalink. This can be cou­pled with its ladar chan­nel to di­rect Hoplite-S onto tar­gets in co­or­di­nated salvo at­tacks re­sult­ing in more in­tense fire­power ca­pa­bil­ity com­pared to cur­rent sys­tems.

In­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies such as use of air turbo rocket (ATR) propul­sion sys­tem, with its in­te­grated boost mo­tor, pro­vides both the mis­siles to cruise at over Mach 2. The ATR of­fers the ad­van­tage of solid rocket mo­tors and gas tur­bines, as well as al­low­ing the large ac­cel­er­a­tions and de­cel­er­a­tions re­quired by the mis­siles. A Boosted Ki­netic En­ergy Pen­e­tra­tor war­head en­ables Hoplite-L to de­feat all its tar­gets from any flight ve­loc­ity. Lastly, the spot-scan­ning ladar is used by both mis­siles for 3D imag­ing, tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, SAL re­cep­tion, fuz­ing and as an al­time­ter.

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