Given close ties between the two nations, and the success of the Brimstone missile system in the joint Libyan operation last year, Washington could find it advantageous to buy the British missiles rather than develop its own separate system, he said.
“We’re having a dialogue about whether this could be the kind of program that the U.S. might be able to take advantage of,” he said.
The Pentagon’s own efforts to develop a new air-to-ground missile has run into some problems. The Joint Common Missile program was cancelled in 2005, but was later revived as the Joint Air-Ground Missile, but that program’s future is in doubt amid escalating budget pressures and affordability concerns.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are working on technology development contracts on the U.S. program.
Gladding said one option might be for MBDA to partner with a U.S. company to offer the Brimstone missile to the U.S. military, citing what he called “definite interest” by U.S. officials in the British missile program.
The Hawk single-engine advanced jet trainer aircraft developed by BAE Systems might also be a good fit for the U.S. Air Force, he said, noting Washington could save money by using a plane was already available rather than developing a new one.
British firms are also exhibiting innovative solutions to deal with roadside bombs at the trade show, Gladding said, citing that area as another ripe for possible cooperation.
Britain and the United States are already working together on a next-generation submarine to deliver nuclear weapons, and Britain’s expertise in providing security - underscored during the recent Olympic Games - was another fertile area, he said.
Gladding said he would also meet with Pentagon officials to discuss the U.S.-UK defense trade treaty, noting that Britain needed to do more to encourage U.K. firms to get involved.