Weapons and Kit

Brimstone: The missiles the UK could send Ukraine - explained

The UK is looking at ways to supply anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, including mounting Brimstone missiles to vehicles, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says.

Brimstone missiles were developed by arms manufacturer MBDA for the Royal Air Force.

They have been used by British forces in Libya and Syria, and are typically launched from fast jet aircraft such as a Typhoon.

In Ukraine, the missiles are set be fired from land towards targets.

Defence analyst Paul Beaver said the missiles can still be "very effective" fired from land and, most importantly, they "will work".

"Integration onto a truck isn't going to be that difficult," he said.

"The engineers at MBDA will have already thought of this and probably be working on it as we speak.

"More importantly at the moment, it's the deterrence value of it - to stop any Russian maritime aggression.

"I think Brimstone could be very effective."

However, he did draw attention to the fact the missile is not a long-range missile and not "over the horizon".

"This is about, for example, deterring in the first place and then destroying Russian landing craft should they be foolish enough to attack, say, Odesa on the south coast," he said.

Watch: UK looking at sending tanks to Poland as part of move to support Ukraine.

Developed in the UK, the Brimstone is a "fire-and-forget" missile which can even destroy itself if it cannot find the target - minimising collateral damage. 

But its use would require significant training of Ukrainian personnel.

Mr Beaver said the British government would not want it to "fall into the hands of the Russians if it did not detonate", as the seeker's head operates on "highly classified" frequencies.

Brimstone missile system features:

The combat-proven, low collateral, close air support weapon has a length of 1.8m, a weight of 50kg, and a diameter of 180mm.

According to MBDA, the Brimstone offers: 

  • Proven capability against both static and moving/manoeuvring targets           
  • Pinpoint accuracy and low collateral damage
  • Human-In-The-Loop capability to meet restrictive rules of engagement
  • Triples the weapon loadout per pylon
  • Standard interface assisting rapid integration to a large number of platforms

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