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Storm Shadow/SCALP EG
Storm Shadow
Type Long-range, air-to-surface missile
Place of origin France, Italy, United Kingdom
Service history
In service 2002 – present
Used by See Inventory
Production history
Manufacturer MBDA
Unit cost £790,000[1]
Weight 1,230 kilograms (2,711.7 lb)
Length 5.1 metres (16.7 ft)
Diameter .48 metres (1.6 ft)

Warhead 450 kg BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge)

Engine Turbomeca Microturbo TRI 60-30 turbojet, producing 5.4 kN thrust
Wingspan 2.84 metres (9.3 ft)
500 kilometres (311 mi)[2][3]
Flight altitude 30 metres (98.4 ft)–40 metres (131.2 ft)
Speed 1,000 km/h Mach 0.8
Inertial, GPS and TERPROM. Terminal guidance using imaging infrared
Panavia Tornado
Mirage 2000
Eurofighter Typhoon (from 2014)

Storm Shadow is a British, French and Italian air-launched cruise missile, manufactured by MBDA. Storm Shadow is the British name for the weapon; in French service it is called SCALP EG (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général, meaning General Purpose Long Range Standoff Cruise Missile). The missile is based on the earlier MBDA Apache anti-runway missile, and differs in that it carries a warhead, rather than submunitions.


The stealthy missile has a range of approximately 500 kilometres (311 mi),[4][5] is powered by a turbojet at Mach 0.8 and can be carried by the RAF Tornado GR4, Saab Gripen, Italian Tornado IDS, Dassault Mirage 2000 and Dassault Rafale aircraft.[5] Storm Shadow will be integrated with the Eurofighter Typhoon as part of the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) in 2014,[6] and it will be fitted to the F-35 Lightning II once that aircraft comes into service.[7] The BROACH warhead features an initial penetrating charge to clear soil or enter a bunker, then a variable delay fuze to control detonation of the main warhead. The missile weighs about 1,300 kilograms (2,866 lb), has a maximum body diameter of 48 centimetres (1.6 ft) and a wingspan of 3 metres (9.8 ft). Intended targets are command, control and communications; airfields; ports and power stations; AMS/ammunition storage; ships/submarines in port; bridges and other high-value strategic targets.[5]

It is a fire and forget missile, programmed before launch. Once launched, the missile cannot be controlled, its target information changed or be self-destructed. Mission planners programme the missile with the target air defences and target. The missile follows a path semi-autonomously, on a low flight path guided by GPS and terrain matching to the area of the target.[citation needed] Close to the target, the missile climbs and then bunts into a dive. Climbing to altitude is intended to achieve the best probability of target identification and penetration. During the bunt, the nose cone is jettisoned to allow a high resolution infrared camera to observe the target area. The missile then tries to locate its target based upon its targeting information. If it can not, and there is a high risk of collateral damage, it will fly to a crash point instead of risking inaccuracy.[8]


Storm Shadow at the RAF Museum London

British Aerospace and Matra were competing with McDonnell Douglas, Texas Instruments/Short Brothers, Hughes/Smiths Industries, Daimler-Benz Aerospace/Bofors, GEC-Marconi and Rafael.[9] The BAe/Matra Storm Shadow was selected on 25 June 1996.[10] A development and production contract was signed on 11 February 1997, by which time Matra and BAe had completed the merger of their missile businesses to form Matra BAe Dynamics.[11] France ordered 500 SCALP missiles in January 1998.[12]

The first successful fully guided firing of the Storm Shadow/SCALP EG took place at the CEL Biscarosse range in France at the end of December 2000[5] from a Mirage 2000N. The first British firing occurred on 25 May 2001 from a Tornado flying from BAE Warton.[citation needed]

Storm Shadow entered service with the Royal Air Force in late 2001.[5] It was first used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by No. 617 Squadron.

During the NATO intervention in the Libyan civil war, the Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG was fired at pro-Gaddafi targets by French Air Force Rafales [13][14] and Italian Air Force and Royal Air Force [15][16] Tornadoes. Targets included the Al Jufra Air Base.[17] and a military bunker in Sirte, the home town of Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.[18] On the 14 December 2011, Italian Defence Officials noted that Italian Tornado IDS aircraft had fired between 20 and 30 Storm Shadows during the Libyan Campaign. This was the first time that Italian aircraft had fired the missile in live combat, and it was reported the missile had a 97 per cent success rate.[19]

Future development

Missile de Croisière Naval (Naval Cruise Missile)
Manufacturer MBDA
Diameter 500 mm (19.7 in)

MBDA has developed a longer-range sea-launched variant for the French Navy, called Missile de Croisière Naval (MdCN standing for Naval Cruise Missile). It will be deployed on FREMM multipurpose frigates (from 2014) and on Barracuda class submarines (from 2017), using the A70 version of the Sylver launcher on the former and the 533 mm torpedo tubes on the latter.[citation needed] As the missile is not launched from a plane, as is SCALP/Storm Shadow, a booster has been included. The submarine version is encapsulated in an hydrodynamic hard container which is ejected when the missile reaches the surface. To provide a comparable range to the BGM-109 Tomahawk, the range of the MdCN (well over 1000 km) is significantly larger than the SCALP/Storm Shadow.[citation needed]

France originally ordered 50 MdCN for its FREMM frigates in 2006, with delivery expected in 2012.[20] A further 100 surface-launched missiles were ordered in 2009, along with 50 for the planned Barracuda-class submarines.[20] The €1.2bn (FY2011) project will deliver 200 missiles at a unit cost of €2.48m (~US$3.3m), or €6m (~US$8m) including development costs.[20]

MdCN first flight test from a vertical launcher took place on 28 May 2010[21] and its first submarine launch test took place on 8 June 2011. MdCN 's first complete qualification firing took place on 9 July 2012 at the Biscarosse test range. During its third development firing, MdCN met all its test requirements perfectly including the validation of the terminal autonomously guided phase with IR target scenario reconnaissance, which provides the weapon with its exceptionally high precision. On 24 October 2012, MdCN was tested "end-to-end" in the submarine launch configuration for the first time, adjacent to the Île du Levant test centre.[22]


Storm Shadow/SCALP EG

The following countries have ordered Storm Shadow / SCALP / MdCN, in these quantities:

500 ordered in January 1998 for the French Air Force; 50 MdCNs ordered in 2006 and 100 more in 2009 for the French Navy
90 for the Hellenic Air Force[23]
200 for the Aeronautica Militare
 Saudi Arabia
350 missiles for US $1.8 billion deal to supply the Royal Saudi Air Force.[24]
 United Arab Emirates
Undisclosed number of the variant called Black Shaheen
 United Kingdom
900 for the Royal Air Force.

See also


  1. "Written Answers to Questions". House of Commons. 17 May 2011. 
  3. "Storm Shadow / SCALP". MBDA. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Storm Shadow". Federation of American Scientists. 
  6. Sweetman, Bill (14 January 2009). "Eurofighter Typhoon Gains Altitude". Aviation Week. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  7. "F-35: Technology". F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Programme. 
  8. Eklund, Dylan (2006). "Fire and Brimstone: The RAF's 21st Century Missiles". RAF Magazine. pp. 19–25. 
  9. Morrocco, John D. (29 July 1996). "BAe, GEC Snare Key U.K. Contracts". Aviation Week and Space Technology. McGraw-Hill, Inc.. p. 64. 
  10. Evans, Michael (26 June 1996). "£4bn orders will equip RAF for the 21st century". The Times. Times Newspapers Ltd.. 
  11. "£700 Million RAF Contract Signed". The Press Association Limited. 11 February 1997. 
  12. "France Takes Scalp". Flight International. Reed Business Publishing. 14 January 1998. 
  13. "Rafale destroys Libyan jet, as France steps up action". 2011-03-25. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  14. "Libya: France May Shift Rafales from Rafaletown to Sigonella". Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  15. "British Armed Forces launch strike against Libyan air defence systems". Ministry of Defence. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  16. "U.K. Libya Strikes Include Storm Shadows". Aviation week. 2011-03-20. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  17. "Libye : premier tir opérationnel d'un missile de croisière Scalp par la France". Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  18. "UK jets bomb Gaddafi hometown bunker". BBC News. 26 August 2011. 
  19. "Italy Gives Bombing Stats for Libya Campaign". Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 "Projet de loi de finances pour 2013 : Défense : équipement des forces" (in French). Senate of France. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  21. Jean Dupont (15 June 2010). "Successful First Firing of MBDA's SCALP Naval Missile". MBDA. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  22. IHS Inc. Jane's Defence Weekly, Volume 49, Issue 44, p3, 31 October 2012
  23. "MBDA Web Site". 

External links

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