It was used in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine, and it is characterized by its high speed.. Learn about the “Storm Shadow” missile

Storm Shadow missile, a British-French cruise missile of the British “Cruise” class, launched from the air.

It was jointly developed by Britain and France, and manufactured by the European Missile Company (MBDA), and its design was inspired by the Apache missiles.

It is called “Storm Shadow” in Britain, and the class used in France is called “SCALP EG”, which is an acronym for “General Purpose Long Range Counter Cruise Missile”.

Classification of the missile and its beginnings

The Storm Shadow missile is a long-range air-to-surface missile designed to meet the challenging requirements of pre-planned attacks against stationary or high-value fixed targets, such as air bases, radar installations, military communications centers, and logistics ports.

According to Bloomberg, it can be launched accurately in any weather conditions during the day and night at long and low ranges, and it is characterized by a great speed that makes it a hidden missile that is difficult to monitor and drop, and its speed gives it the ability to launch incomparable deep strikes.

It is compatible with installation and launch with the British “Tornado” and “Eurofighter Typhoon” fighters, and with the French “Rafale” and “Mirage 2000” combat aircraft.

It began to be developed in 1996 and entered service in 2002. It was actually used in battles with the British Air Force and the French Air Force in 2003 in Iraq, then in Libya in 2011, and its use was limited to a limited number of countries.

Its advantages

The “Storm Shadow” missile is designed to penetrate targets, and thanks to technology and independent guidance capabilities, it is difficult to monitor, target, or shoot down. It is about 5.1 meters long, with wingspans of 3 meters, and a stereoscopic diameter of 0.48 meters.

The missile weighs about 1,300 kilograms, and its warhead, called “Brush”, weighs half a ton, and its speed reaches 1,000 kilometers per hour, and its range can reach more than 250 kilometers.

It is equipped with a special navigation system and an inertial navigation system, as well as a global positioning navigation system and a terrain reference navigation system, which enables it to better and stronger positioning and control of the path, and to deliver accurate strikes due to its infrared reader.

Version “Black Shaheen”

The Black Shaheen version is basically a “Storm Shadow” missile with a low range, which makes it compatible with the Missile Technology Control System.

There is no specific range for the “Black Shaheen Cruise” missile, but it is assumed that its range is less than that of the “Storm Shadow” missile.

The mechanism of action of the missile

The “Storm Shadow” missile does not use any inputs from the aircraft carrying it, either before or after launch, but rather is pre-programmed on the ground to independently track waypoints towards the target area, using inertial navigation and GPS guidance systems.

The Storm Shadow missile has a much larger warhead than the (French) multiple launch guided missile.

The fighters carrying these missiles usually fly at a height of between 30-40 meters above the ground, to reduce the chances of them being detected by radars.

The missiles have the support of two prominent wings, and fly at a speed just below the speed of sound thanks to the “TRI 60-30” jet engine. These missiles do not have a high radar signature thanks to their non-reflective mathematical engineering.

Once close to the target, the “Storm Shadow” missile rushes upward to get rid of its pointed head, revealing the infrared sensor below, and then exploits its high flight to examine the ground beneath it, searching for anything resembling pre-loaded target images from satellites, using An AI-powered technology called Digital Scene and Area Matching Link (DSMAC).

If the missile fails to find its target; It is assigned a remote crash point to avoid collateral damage, but if it finds a matching target, it will swoop in to unleash an explosive pre-charge from its Brooch warhead’s payload, which is roughly half a ton.

The armor-piercing precharge blows a hole on the surface of the target, allowing the larger main explosive charge to pass into the target structure before detonating. This makes the warhead effective against armored targets, such as storage facilities and underground bunkers.

The Storm Shadow missile can travel a longer distance, and has a much larger warhead than multiple launch guided missiles, but it is 4 to 5 times more expensive, and because of this, in the Russian war on Ukraine, Western allies promised Kiev only a few of these missiles.

Rocket sales

According to the sources of the various factories, the purchase orders for the “Storm Shadow” missile, in all its versions, amounted to the following:

  • France ordered 500 “Scalp EG” missiles in December 1997.
  • The UK ordered more than 900 Storm Shadow missiles in 1997.
  • The United Arab Emirates ordered 600 “Black Shaheen” missiles in 1997.
  • Italy ordered 200 “Scalp AG” and “Storm Shadow” missiles in 1999.
  • Greece ordered 56 “Scalp EG” missiles in 2000.
  • Saudi Arabia ordered more than 200 Storm Shadow missiles in 2006.

Storm Shadow missiles are not cheap, as are most long-range cruise missiles. The cost of one missile reaches about one million dollars, and most countries have stocks that do not exceed hundreds, which limits the number of missiles available.

Ukraine’s use of the “Storm Shadow” missile

Since the “Storm Shadow” missiles do not need fire control systems from the combat aircraft that launch them, it was relatively easy to add them to the Soviet fighters of the Ukrainian Air Force, especially the “Su-24” or “Su-27” fighters due to their large size and weight. .

Therefore, the Ukrainian fighters launch these missiles from a relatively safe airspace thanks to their large range, but the desire to delay or avoid detection of the missiles by Russian ground radars, and the desire to attack from unexpected angles, made Ukraine choose to launch the missiles from a low altitude, even if it reduces that. from the missile’s maximum range and required getting closer to the target.

And of course, the MiG-31 interceptors and the Russian Su-35 fighters that scout the terrain from above and carry the very long-range R-37M missiles; The biggest obstacle for Ukraine was the use of “Storm Shadow” missiles, but by combining some different means to launch “Storm Shadow” missiles from the ground, it can do so, but its effect remains limited.

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