Storm Shadow

Storm Shadow is an Anglo-French air-launched cruise missile, manufactured by MBDA and used by France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Storm Shadow is the British name for the weapon; in French service it is called SCALP EG (Emploi Général, meaning General Purpose). 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 in excess of , is powered by a turbojet at Mach 0.8 and can be carried by the Tornado GR4, Italian Tornado IDS, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Mirage 2000 and Dassault Rafale aircraft. The F-35 Lightning II will also carry the missile once the aircraft enters service. The BROACH warhead features an initial penetrating charge to clear soil or enter a bunker, then a variable delay fuse to control detonation of the main warhead. The missile weighs about has a maximum body diameter of and a wingspan of . Intended targets are command, control and communications; airfield facilities; port facilities; AMS/ammunition storage; ships/submarines in port; and bridges.

It is a fire and forget missile, programmed before launch. Once launched, the missile cannot be controlled, its target information changed or be self-destroyed. 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.

Close to the target, the missile bunts, climbing to an altitude 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 bunt enlarges the field of vision). 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.


British Aerospace and Matra were competing with McDonnell Douglas, Texas Instruments/Short Brothers, Hughes/Smiths Industries, Daimler-Benz Aerospace/Bofors, GEC-Marconi and Rafael. The BAe/Matra Storm Shadow was selected on 25th June 1996. A development and production contract was signed on 1997-02-11, by which time Matra and BAe had completed the merger of their missile businesses to form Matra BAe Dynamics. France ordered 500 SCALP missiles in January 1998.

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. The launching aircraft was a Mirage 2000N. The first British firing occurred on 2001-05-25 from a Tornado flying from BAE Warton.

Storm Shadow entered service with the Royal Air Force in 2002. It was first used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by No. 617 Squadron. On 12 September 2006 three Italian Tornado IDS left for South Africa to complete the integration of the Storm Shadow.

Future development

MBDA is developing a longer range sea-launched variant, to be called SCALP Naval, to be launched from surface vessels and submarines using the A70 version of the SYLVER launcher on the former. To provide a comparable range to the Tomahawk missile the range of the SCALP Naval would have to be significantly larger than the Storm Shadow.

The Storm Shadow was suggested as part of the RAF's Future Offensive Air System, possibly using a non-penetrating aircraft (e.g. C-130J or A400M) deploying large numbers of the missile. The FOAS study was cancelled in 2005, although the Storm Shadow may still be included in future studies.


The following countries have ordered Storm Shadow / SCALP, in these quantities: : 500 ordered in January 1998 for the French Air Force : 90 ordered in August 2000 for the Hellenic Air Force : 200 for the Aeronautica Militare : Undisclosed number of the variant called Black Shaheen : 900 for the Royal Air Force

See also


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