New lease of life for Storm Shadow and SCALP

The defence ministries of the United Kingdom and France have unveiled plans for a mid-life refurbishment of Storm Shadow and SCALP EG conventional cruise missiles.

The missile – which first saw combat with the Royal Air Force in Operation Telic in 2003 – is intended to be used in pre-planned attacks against strongly defended, hardened high-value static targets.

The refurbishment work will be led by European missile house MBDA and will extend the operational life of the weapons ‘against the anticipated evolving threat’ well into next decade.

Following a development phase, the Storm Shadow/SCALP mid-life refurbishment programme will be validated by a series of flight trials in 2019. The first refurbished missiles are due to be returned to service in France and the UK by early 2020.

Programme history

The Franco-British Storm Shadow/SCALP programme was launched in 1996. In British and French service the missiles currently arm Royal Air Force Tornados (Storm Shadow), Armée de l’Air Rafales and Mirage 2000s (SCALP) and Marine Nationale Rafales (SCALP). Integration is currently underway for the Typhoon.

In French service, the SCALP EG nomenclature stands for Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général, or long-range autonomous cruise system, general purpose.

To date, almost 3,000 Storm Shadow/SCALP missiles have been delivered or are under order for nine armed forces around the world. Nearly 200 examples of the missile have been deployed during operations since the weapon’s entry into service in 2003. A derivative of the missile, named Black Shaheen, arms the United Arab Emirates’ Mirage 2000-9s.