The RAND Corporation recently released a report entitled “Precision and Purpose: Airpower in the Libyan Civil War,” which assesses the impact of the NATO coalition air war in Libya from March to October 2011. Sponsored by then-Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, Gen Philip Breedlove, the report examines the origins, planning, execution and result of the air campaign to help the US and its allies prepare for future aerial intervention operations.
Chapter 6, “The British Experience: Operation Ellamy,” by Christina Goulter highlights the Brimstone missile’s role of MBDA’s Dual Mode Brimstone Missile in contribution to NATO’s efforts:
“The precision-guided munition (PGM) that became the weapon of choice for Tornado crews was the recently developed Brimstone missile. This 50-kilogram PGM had been designed as an anti-armor weapon, and the latest variant (referred to as the Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone, or DMSB), which used laser guidance, proved to be an extremely reliable, accurate, and potent weapon for use against a wide variety of targets, including highly mobile ones.” (167)
“Between June 26 and June 28, RAF Tornados and Typhoons successfully struck regime tanks, armored vehicles and artillery in the area, and these attacks continued well into July. The value of Brimstone was amply demonstrated on July 2, when a regime T-55 tank attempted to shelter from air attack in a narrow alleyway in a town in the Djebel Nafusa, but was destroyed without damaging the surrounding buildings or causing any collateral damage.” (171)
“By the end of the campaign, more than 80 percent of targets fell into the category of DDTs (deliberate dynamic targeting), and the fact that weapon systems such as Brimstone achieved such high levels of accuracy (almost 99 percent of all Brimstones fired hit their intended targets) also would have played on the minds of regime forces.” (176)
“Tactically, the value of precision munitions such as the British Brimstone has been highlighted as well. In spite of severe financial constraints, many of these lessons learned should have an impact on the decisions to come in the next procurement bill covering the years 2014 to 2019.” (200)
The complete analysis, edited by Karl P Mueller is available via the RAND Corporation here. MBDA Inc. did not sponsor or contribute to the Report.