This is the effect of a Brimstone missile launched by a Reaper drone on a SUV

A series of images show the effects of Dual Mode Brimstone missiles fired by an MQ-9 Reaper drone. By the way, the trucks in the opening image are different ones.

With nine direct hits on high speed, maneuvering vehicles, MBDA has successfully demonstrated its Dual Mode Brimstone missile on an MQ-9 Reaper.

The tests were conducted in December 2013 and January 2014 at the U.S. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, on behalf of UK Ministry of Defence by the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Air Warfare Centre Unmanned Air Systems Test and Evaluation Squadron, Defence Equipment & Support Weapons Operating Centre, United States Air Force’s BIG SAFARI Organisation, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated and MBDA.

According to an MBDA release, “the firings were taken from realistic ‘middle of the envelope’ profiles; typically 20,000ft release altitude and 7km – 12km plan range, with the platform being remotely piloted in operationally representative beyond line of sight (SATCOM) conditions, with tracking and designation of targets being conducted in a mixture of manual-track and auto-track modes.”

Brimstone is a fire and forget anti-armour missile that had a starring role in the Air War over Libya, when RAF fired a good number of these advanced weapons with impressive results.

These small guided missiles have a range of 7.5 miles and use a millimeter wave (mmW) radar seeker with a semi-active laser (SAL) that enables final guidance to the target by either the launching platform or another plane, and are perfect for small targets, individuals, buildings and fast-moving vehicles.

With a warhead of 9 kg, capable of destroying a vehicle with very low collateral damage risk, and an accuracy of about 1 – 2 meters, the dual-mode (radar – laser) Brimstone missile proved to be the weapons of choice of the RAF Tornados when engaging ground vehicles, attracting the interest of other coalition partners.

As Brimstone is an extensive redevelopment of the AGM-114 Hellfire it can be used on fast jets, helicopters and UAV’s: the Dual Mode Brimstone can provide Reaper crews with a weapon that reduces collateral damage risk while preserving first pass, single shot lethality against high speed manoeuvring targets on land and at sea.


Image credit: MBDA


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. We are on the way back to middle age when it comes to humanity. Death sentences from some chief of state, not from courts. Killing people on the street, accepting the loss of people nearby (other people in the car). Using military forces to carry out executions. Even doing this in foreign countries.
    This missile is being made for terrorism, not for war. I am not proud about something like that. I don´t want my country and our military forces to act like terrorists do.

    • We (the west and not just the USA) are at war against islamic terrorists, a war which they started. By the way, a declaration of war is not necessary since a de facto state of war exists. In fact, most wars are never formally declared.
      In a war, killing an enemy who is not in captivity, even individal enemy leaders, is not an “execution”. The planned targeting and shooting down of general Yamamoto in WW II was no execution, either. Terrorists should be killed wherever they are, “in the street” or elsewhere. The loss of people nearby is justified as long as proportionality is ensured (no unreasonable loss of civilian life), this is in accordance with the law of armed conflict. Do you know how many innocent people these terrorists would have killed? Who else should carry it out if not military forces? Law enforcement is not in a position to do it and the countries involved would not accept our jurisdiction in any case.
      These missiles are made to hit terrorists and therefore terrorism where we can get them with minimum collateral damage. I hope we eliminate loads of them. That does make me proud, and I’m not even American.

      • What kind of terrorism are you speaking about? Terror has many faces. Who has the right to declare somebody a terrorist and which definition of this term justifies to break the rules of the division of powers?

      • “Do you know how many innocent people these terrorists would have killed?” Do you? Do you even know how many innocent people have been killed by drones?

        “The loss of people nearby is justified as long as proportionality is ensured (no unreasonable loss of civilian life)”. Who and what defines proportionality and unreasonable? The relatives of innocent people killed in drone attacks do not seem to think it so proportional and reasonable.

        If you accept this, then you open the doors to anyone else committing extrajudicial killings of anyone, at any time and anywhere. It’s killing of people labelled as “terrorists” in far off, poor countries for now, but next can be the extrajudicial executions of Americans at home or abroad.

        Lace is right.

        • @Lace and Obc:
          You are thinking in the wrong context. The rule of division of powers (in this case executive and judiciary for this particular decision) and the notion of “extrajudicial killings” are relevant in law enforcement, not in fighting an enemy in wartime: You don’t have to ask a judge each time before you pull the trigger in combat. This is the same thing. I don’t see why or how this would open the doors to “killings of anyone, at any time and anywhere”.
          Proportionality, in the law of armed conflict, means that the applied military means must not be unjustifiably devastating in relation to the military goal (my translation, please check the original texts). Of course if you ask the relatives of UAV victims they don’t think it’s proportional. How about asking terrorist victims’ relatives instead? With over 3000 dead from the 9/11 attacks alone there are plenty of those you can ask.

          • Yes, there were 3000 dead people at 9/11. But after that 100 thousands had to die in Afghanistan and Iraq war. After that thousands dead in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan border. All terrorists? All justified because of 9/11? How long can 9/11 be justification for the ongoing killing? And now back to the topic. All this has lead to specialized weapons to kill individuals. I think here you can clearly see that this conflict got out of control.

            • Ok, let the terrorists continue kill & oppress innocents. Problem solved. You go back to drinking your latte.

          • Tim, how many of those who committed the 9/11 attacks have been killed with drones? Those attacks are being exploited for other purposes that have nothing to do with them. People are being killed around the world by the American government, with no control and for any reason they choose.

            They have even given themselves the ability to kill American citizens, just because they say so. It’s very easy to go along with this while it is against other people in far off, poor countries for now. It will not be when it means you and the people that you care about, being killed by the American government.

    • i dont understand why you have to a fuss about the article. Its just a piece of hard ware. Why is it less humane than any other kind of weapons (bomb, shell, missile, etc.) anyway?

      • Saberhagen, the issue is what the weapons are being used for, not what kind of weapon is used.

    • The fact that it is not the same truck is specified in the first phrases of the story. They performed 9 tests: pics come from 2 different ones.

    • LOL. Fraud photos? You really think somebody was trying to pull one over on you, by using two photos that clearly are in different places and different vehicles?

  2. They are blowing up brand new tacomas!? Give it to me! Why don’t they just buy a Craigslist cars or ones from the local used car lot?

    • The missile cost more than the truck. They were probably trying to closely match the intended target. I don’t think the vehicle cost was much of a concern.

  3. Hope this missile will be used widely when it’s time to kill Russia-supported terrorists in Syria and Lebanon like Bashar Asad’s Murderer Commanders, Hezbollah Members and of Course IRGC’s Members.

    • Sorry to disappoint you but, the terrorists supported by foreign powers in Syria are the people being supported the USA and the UK. Radical, al qaeda groups like the al nusra front and the FSA, who are waging a sectarian, reign of terror on minorities.

      • Sorry to disappoint you too but the real terrorist in there are those who are supported by Russia and the Islamic Regime of Iran. We all know this fact that Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization but The mother of Terrorism in whole the world is the Islamic Republic _ sorrowfully _ of Iran as we know that some of the top rated leaders of Al Qaeda live freely in Iran and there is not even a small piece of evidence to prove your joke-like claim which says Al Qaeda is supported by the U.S or U.K in Syria.
        This is a big lie that you reproduce here following your leaders in Iran and Russia just to cover this “clearest fact” of the current world that Islamic Regime of Iran is the devil of our world beside the Putin Regime of Russia and Communist Regime of China who all together are the biggest enemies of Humanity, Freedom and Human Rights.
        Please don’t bother yourself to set a clear lie on the place of a clear truth because nobody believes you here.
        BTW I’m sure that Brimstone missile is under process to be ready for the attack being launched on Bashar Asad in the close future.

        • So you are only concerned with Islamic terrorists when they do not suit the American agenda but, are unconcerned with them when they do suit America, as in Syria.

          Typical double standards from the promoters of the American war agenda.

            • I have not declared support for anyone. It is interesting that you take the side of head chopping, christian persecuting, religious extremists who use child soldiers and commit cannibalism.

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