Farnborough 2012: MBDA completes Sea Spear live firing
MBDA has recently completed live firing trials of its new Brimstone Sea Spear missile system for anti-FIAC (fast inshore attack craft) applications.
The system is designed to engage targets that generally operate in 'swarms' of some 40 boats, and is launched from a surface platform to pinpoint small fast moving targets.
'We've been looking at this anti-FIAC capability and conducted trials earlier this year at Parc Aberporth,' Frank Morgan, technical and military operations executive told a media briefing at the Farnborough International Airshow on 10 July. 'In March this year we conducted a data gathering trial.
'That was followed- because we were so successful in that- with us conducting a live firing two weeks ago. It hit in the engine area taking out the target.'
He said the company was 'very pleased' with the results of the trial, and identified that it wants to move to a more navalised application for the Brimstone.
'We use data from the radar or any EO/IR system on the vessel and fuse that data together to gain the location of the target,' Morgan continued. 'It's a one-button push with many missiles engaging the target.'
The missile is based around the Brimstone Dual-Mode configuration, which combines a millimetric wave seeker and semi-active laser.
'In using a dual mode system you're tracking this target autonomously,' Morgan continued. 'For dual-mode Brimstone you anoint the target so the missile knows where it's going and at some point the missile takes over into millimetric wave tracking mode.'
Morgan said that following operations in Libya and Afghanistan the Brimstone has proved itself to be the 'weapon of choice', and the naval configuration has been based around 'robust but simple' operating technology.
It has an all-weather radar system, autonomous fire and forget capability, and is based on a modular design so that it can be moved from one vessel to another.
'Our system is reasonably mature with the testing that it's done. We're in the process of developing that system in its wholeness,' Morgan explained.
He said a development date has not yet been set, but 'it's a number of months' and not years until MBDA will be able to offer a viable system. The company also confirmed that it has received 'substantial support' from the UK MoD throughout the programme.
MBDA said the surface launched system, as well as a fast jet launched system, are the 'most immediate markets' for the Brimstone Sea Spear, and therefore it is concentrating on developing these configurations first before exploring other launch platforms such as helicopters.
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