Visual Confirmation: Ukrainian SU-24 Armed with British "Storm Shadow" Cruise Missiles

Visual Confirmation: Ukrainian SU-24 Armed with British "Storm Shadow" Cruise Missiles

In the photo above, taken TODAY in Ukraine, a model SU-24 fighter jet from Ukraine is clearly seen armed with two British-supplied "Storm Shadow" cruise missiles.

This is the first time visual verification of these new, long-range, weapons has been made.

Storm Shadow is a British-French low-observable, long-range, air-launched cruise missile developed since 1994 by Matra and British Aerospace, and now manufactured by MBDA.

"Storm Shadow" is the weapon's British name; in France it is called SCALP-EG (which stands for "Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général"; English: "Long Range Autonomous Cruise Missile System – General Purpose").

The missile is based on the French-developed Apache anti-runway cruise missile, but differs in that it carries a unitary warhead instead of cluster munitions.

The missile weighs about 1,300 kilograms (2,900 lb), with a conventional warhead of 450 kilograms (990 lb). It has a maximum body diameter of 48 centimeters (19 in) and a wingspan of three meters (120 in). It is propelled at Mach 0.8 by a Microturbo TRI 60-30 turbojet engine and has range of approximately 560 km (300 nmi; 350 mi).

The Storm Shadow's 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. Intended targets are command, control and communications centers; airfields; ports and power stations; ammunition management and storage facilities; surface ships and submarines in port; bridges and other high value strategic targets.

The missile is fire and forget, programmed before launch. Once launched, it cannot be controlled or commanded to self-destroy and its target information cannot be changed. Mission planners program the weapon with details of the target and its air-defenses. The missile follows a path semi-autonomously, on a low flight path guided by GPS and terrain mapping to the target area. Close to the target, the missile climbs and then dives into the target.

On 11 May 2023, the United Kingdom announced that it was supplying Storm Shadows to the Ukrainian military during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This followed a pledge from the UK in February 2023 to send Ukraine long-range missiles in response to Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.

Ukraine has insisted it would not use such weapons on Russian territory. UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace emphasized the delivery as a "calibrated, proportionate response to Russia’s escalation," noting Russian use of even longer-range munitions including the AS-24 Killjoy hypersonic missile, 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missile, and Shahed-136 one-way attack drone.

The grant of Storm Shadow missiles is a significant boost to the Ukrainian military, as they are capable of striking targets at much longer ranges than had previously been possible, including command-and-control nodes and logistics points in occupied Crimea to interrupt Russia's ability to support the front line.

Shortly after, France announced it would be delivering the SCALP-EG, its version of the missile, to Ukraine as well. France said it was not delivering weapons capable of hitting Russian soil. The UK on 18 May confirmed Ukraine had already successfully used the Storm Shadow.



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