Ready to consider integration of Brimstone missiles onto MQ-9B Predator to be procured by India: MBDA

European defence major MBDA has said it is open to considering the possibility of integrating its high-precision strike missile Brimstone missiles onto the MQ-9B Predator armed drones that India is procuring from the US, provided it receives such a proposal.

MBDA’s Brimstone missiles are known as close air support weapons and are suitable for deployment on a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles as well as land and surface platforms.

Noteworthy, India is in the process of procuring 31 MQ-9B Predator high-altitude long-endurance drones from the US at a cost of nearly USD 3 billion to crank up the surveillance apparatus of the armed forces, especially along the contested frontier with China.

We are open to looking into any proposal for integration of Brimstone missiles onto the MQ-9B Predator drones being procured by India,” MBDA officials said in reply to a question.

The United Kingdom has already decided to load up Brimstone missiles onto the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) fleet of US-manufactured MQ-9B drones to enhance their overall capabilities.

The air dominance missile was operationally deployed in Afghanistan and Libya and it has proven to be a weapon of choice with its ability to perform surgical strikes in day and night environments, the officials said.

To be noted that Brimstone is being integrated on MQ-9B and available to provide the best anti-surface strike capabilities against moving, static, maritime and armoured targets.

Further, the combat aircraft armed with the Brimstone weapon offer reach, speed, flexibility, precision and the ability to engage multiple targets with a single mission load, said another official.

Sources in the Indian defence and military establishment said various details relating to the procurement of the 31 MQ-9B Predator drones from the US including the cost and weapons package would be decided once the US Congress clears the deal.

It is learnt that both sides are looking at sealing the deal by March 2024.

It is worth mentioning that MBDA has played a key role in the integration of weapons packages onto two squadrons of Rafale fighter jets being operated by the Indian Air Force.

MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Scalp cruise missile and MICA weapons system are the mainstays of the weapons package of Rafale jets.