Saudi Arabia integrates Brimstone on Tornado, though yet to acquire missile | World Defense

Saudi Arabia integrates Brimstone on Tornado, though yet to acquire missile

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Saudi Arabia integrates Brimstone on Tornado, though yet to acquire missile

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
25 January 2016

An RSAF Panavia Tornado IDS aircraft photographed in the UK in 2007 undergoing Brimstone trials as part of Saudi Arabia's Tornado Sustainment Programme. Source: Neville Beckett
Saudi Arabia has provisioned its Panavia Tornado IDS strike aircraft with an initial capability to employ the MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface missile, but has yet to formally acquire the system, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) told IHS Jane's on 25 January.

Responding to a freedom of information (FoI) request, the MoD revealed that the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) received an initial Brimstone capability for its Tornado IDS fleet in 2015. Work was carried out by BAE Systems in the UK, with a small number of missiles being fired in Saudi Arabia for test and evaluation purposes.

The work was conducted by BAE Systems under the RSAF's Tornado Sustainment Programme (TSP) that also saw the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile, 1,000 lb 'dumb bombs', 1,000 lb Paveway II laser-guided bombs, and the Thales Damocles targeting and navigation pod integrated onto the aircraft. While the MoD confirmed that Saudi Arabia has acquired an undisclosed number of Storm Shadow missiles, it noted that the kingdom has not ordered the Brimstone, even though it requested the capability to employ it.

International media reported in 2015 that Saudi Arabia was already using the Brimstone missile, though these reports could be incorrect and the Brimstone capability has been integrated onto the RSAF's Tornados ahead of a planned future order for the missile. Alternatively, some missile stocks may have been transferred from the UK's inventory, as the only current operator of the system, ahead of a formal order for the missile. It could also be that the RSAF's priorities have changed given its involvement in Yemen, and that a Brimstone procurement has been delayed for the time being. The MoD had not responded to a request for clarification by the time IHS Jane's went to press.

Although the precise status of any Saudi Arabian Brimstone order is unclear, the missile was photographed by IHS Jane's aboard an RSAF Tornado during integration trials as far back as 2007.
Saudi Arabia integrates Brimstone on Tornado, though yet to acquire missile | IHS Jane's 360
 
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