A couple of weeks ago the British government stated that in addition to the other equipment they had supplied to the Ukrainians they were also adding Brimstone missiles to the list.
And now footage has emerged of this weapon apparently being used by Ukrainian troops in what is believed to be a test fire of a new ground-based launcher for the weapon.
Brimstone is a “fire-and-forget” missile that is often called an evolution of the American Hellfire, though it is in fact almost an entirely new missile.
The initial version was equipped with a radar guidance system that is extremely good. This provides the guidance system with a high-resolution radar image of the area that enables the missile to tell the difference between a vehicle, including what that vehicle is, or other items such as buildings or vegetation.
This allows the missile literal autonomy and that smoke and fog are no impediment to its guidance.
The missile is fitted with a tandem warhead and though range is unconfirmed, is thought to be between 12 and 20 kms in a ground launched configuration. Brimstone can also be programmed to go after specific targets and as demonstrated by the Ukrainians, can be ripple fired.
Programmed to spread out and seek targets in a designated area, Brimstones can thus destroy a column of vehicles, all striking their targets within a fraction of second of one another. It is, in short, a thoroughly lethal weapon expressly designed to destroy armoured formations.
Later versions are also fitted with a semi-active laser homing system that allows ground troops to designate targets, but the few pictures to have emerged from the conflict show older first-generation missiles being used in Ukraine that do not have this capability.
In British service, the Brimstone has been used exclusively with the Royal Air Force and has demonstrated its capabilities In Libya and against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And while the Ukrainian ground version appears to be a bit of a lash up, with Brimstone rail launchers being fitted to civilian vehicle chassis, expect this weapon to inflict further woes on Russian armour when it gets into mainstream use with the Ukrainian military.
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