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Storm Shadow / SCALP EG
Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM)

The Matra BAe Dynamics (MBD) Storm Shadow missile system was selected for the RAF to meet SR (A) 1236, the Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM). The contract was awarded to MBD in February 1997 after an international competition with six other companies. The Storm Shadow missile system proposed by MBD is based on the flight-proven Apache air vehicle, and is optimised to meet UK requirements. The Storm Shadow system provides long range firepower for the Royal Air Force's Tornado, EF 2000 and Harrier GR7 aircraft, ensuring aircrews no longer to enter heavily defended enemy airspace in order to destroy high value targets.

The French SCALP EG (Emploi Général / General Purpose) is the same weapon as Storm Shadow apart from national aspects related to both countries. The two similar, but not identical, Government technical requirements were fully harmonised into a single common technical solution. The design was selected by the French government in December 1994 (APTGD programme) after a competition between Matra Défense and Aérospatiale. In January 1998 Matra BAe Dynamics (a subsidiary of the Lagardère and British Aerospace groups) received a major contract from the French Ministry of Defence for the mass-production of 500 SCALP cruise missiles. The SCALP E.G. gives Mirage 2000, Rafale and Eurofighter aircraft unprecedented stand-off fire power.

The Royal Air Force's new Storm Shadow missile is also to be supplied to the Italian Air Force under a loint procurement program managed by the MOD's Defence Procurement Agency. The new deal followed an earlier co-operation agreement with France, and led to a common stand-off weapon being used by all three countries' air forces. The MOD ordered Storm Shadow to meet its Conventionally Armed Stand-Off Missile (CASOM) requirement in 1997. France ordered a similar missile from Matra BAe Dynamics (France), known as Scalp EG. The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding for exchange information in 1997, to secure the maximum operational costs and benefits from the two parallel programmes. A tri-lateral MOU was signed in October 1999, extending these co-operative arrangemnts to include Italy.

The Storm Shadow is a stealth cruise missile of around 1,300 kg carrying a powerful conventional warhead. Storm Shadow is an air-launched, conventionally-armed, long-range, stand-off, precision weapon, which is deployable at night or day, in most weather and operational conditions. It will be able to destroy sensitive and highly protected targets (command bunkers, communications centers, etc.) with very great accuracy, with a range of over 250 kilometres after an entirely autonomous terrain-following flight at very low altitude. It is being developed to attack and destroy a wide spectrum of static, high value targets as listed below:

  • C3 (Command, Control and Communication) facilities
  • airfield facilities
  • port facilities
  • ASM/ammo storage
  • ships/submarines in port
  • bridges.

Storm Shadow will be integrated onto Tornado GR4/4A, Harrier GR7/T10 and Eurofighter. It will be capable of employment in all theatres of conflict, and the warhead is optimised for use against hardened targets.

The Storm Shadow missile requirement embodies the following key features:

  • very long range
  • fire and forget, with fully autonomous guidance
  • low level terrain following
  • stealth design
  • effective penetrator warhead
  • high reliability
  • all up round [ensures high system readiness]
  • low cost of ownership.

The Storm Shadow weapon system comprises:

  • The operational missile and its All Up Round Container (AURC)
  • Mission Planning Infrastructure
  • Data Programming System
  • the Ground/Air Training missile (GATM) and its AURC.

The Storm Shadow missile is derived from the Apache Anti Runway missile. Key elements of this proven technology have been retained for Storm Shadow, but the following major modifications are being introduced to meet the particular Storm Shadow requirements:

  • new guidance and navigation based on TERPROM [TERrain PROfile Matching] terrain navigation with an integrated GPS;
  • terminal guidance using imaging infra-red sensor and autonomous target recognition system;
  • the high lethality of the system is achieved by the use of a BROACH [Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented CHarge] unitary warhead.

The missile weighs approximately 1,300 kilograms and is just over five meters long. Its maximum diameter is under one meter, and with its wings deployed, under three metres.

The first phase of the mission planning regime ensures that the missile navigates to the target with maximum survivability and then enters a robust target acquisition and terminal guidance phase. For complex and pre-determined missions, much of this data would have been pre-prepared earlier at the Command Headquarters. Following an Air Tasking Order, the Squadron would prepare the mission data file with the pre-planned data, together with the latest operational intelligence.

On approaching the terminal phase, the missile will initiate a bunt manoeuvre, pre-selected during mission planning, to obtain the best combination of acquisition probability and lethality against the target. As the missile climbs, it will jettison its nose cover, thereby enabling the missile high resolution imaging infra-red sensor to view the target area ahead.

The missile's image processor will compare the actual image features with a reference set of features, determined during mission planning. When a feature match is achieved the target will be acquired and the required aim point selection tracked and used as the reference for the missile terminal guidance. As the missile closes in on the target the acquisition process will be repeated with a higher resolution data set to refine the aim point. Tracking will continue against this refined aim point until the precise target location is identified.

When engaging hard targets, such as Hardened Aircraft Shelters or bunkers, the missile will strike the target at the estimated optimum dive angle, selected during mission planning. On impact the detonation sequence commences. The precursor charge will perforate the target structure, and any soil covering, and the follow through penetrator warhead will continue to penetrate inside the target to be detonated after a pre-selectable fuse delay.

Should the mission be against a target with potential high collateral damage, the mission will be aborted if the target identification and acquisition process is unsuccessful. In this case the missile will fly to a predetermined crash site.

The contract for the development and production of Storm Shadow was placed with Matra BAe Dynamics (UK) Ltd in February 1997 after a competitive tender exercise. This was one of the first contracts to be placed with this contractor. Matra BAe Dynamics (UK) Ltd is a subsidiary of Matra BAe Dynamics SAS, a company jointly owned by BAe plc and Lagardere SCA. Matra BAe Dynamics (France) Ltd has won the SCALP EG contract from the French Government.

The two parts of Matra BAe Dynamics act as separate Prime Contractors and hold the individual Storm Shadow and SCALP EG contracts for their respective national Governments. This has resulted in an industry collaborative programme that has undertaken certain aspects of the work normally handled by both Governments, such as the harmonisation of national requirements and the merging of national procurement methods. These aspects are exclusively carried out by Matra BAe Dynamics by a fully integrated French and UK management and engineering team. This common solution is shared by the subcontractors' base who only have a single subcontract which embraces the joint requirements. This has resulted in a collaborative programme which is largely transparent to both Governments, and attracts little of the procurement overhead often associated with Government collaborative programmes. This approach has also had the added benefit of driving down costs and enabled both Governments to obtain more weapons for their money.

Italy joined the Storm Shadow / SCALP program in October 1999 to equip the Italian Air Force IDS Tornado and in the same year the United Arab Emirates (UAE) placed a contract to equip the UAE Air Force Mirage 2000-9. In August 2000 Greece ordered the system and placed an additional order in December 2003 to equip the Hellenic Air Force’s Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 fighters.

Under the French Air Force programme, SCALP entered service in 2004. Integration on the Rafale aircraft concluded following successful trials from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in December 2004. Qualified on the Tornado GR4, Mirage 2000 and the Rafale, Storm Shadow / SCALP is currently in service with the air forces of six nations.

Storm Shadow was successfully deployed on Tornado GR4 combat aircraft by the Royal Air Force’s 617 “Dambusters” Squadron during Operation Telic in 2003. A total of 27 missiles were fired during the conflict delivering significant in-target effect and proving the missile’s exceptional capability to accurately engage targets at extended ranges ensuring that the launch aircraft remains safely away from the target area.

The first operational use of SCALP by France in a conflict occurred on March 24, 2011. Several SCALPs were fired against a military air base of Gaddafi’s loyalist forces in Libya. The raid employed two Mirage 2000D and two Rafale Air operated from air bases in France as well as two Rafale Marine operated from the “Charles-de-Gaulle” aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. During the same operations in Libya, the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force also fired a substantial quantity of Storm Shadows against high value military targets from their Tornado aircraft.

An Anglo-French mid-life refurbishment and upgrade program has completed its Concept Phase. SCALP/Storm Shadow already faces multiple areas of operational obsolescence. Currently capable of reaching a target located about 400 kilometres away, these missiles will nevertheless have too little range given the increased capabilities of enemy missiles and the deployment of increasingly efficient A2/AD systems. In this context, the mid-life renovation begun on half of the stock in 2016 is aimed at dealing with some of these sources of obsolescence. The range and capacity to fire from a higher altitude will be slightly increased. In addition, the navigation system’s capacity to resist interference will be strengthened while homing function and target recognition will be improved. This renovation makes it possible to look ahead to the withdrawal of the SCALP/Storm Shadow missiles by 2032.

Weight 1300 kg
Length 5.10 m
Propulsion turbojet
Navigation INS, GPS and Terrain Referenece Navigation
Warhead blast / penetrator
Range in excess of 250km

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:05:11 ZULU