Aerial Warfare

France to Provide Ukrainian Air Force with 40 SCALP EG Air-launched Cruise Missiles

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France to Provide Ukrainian Air Force with 40 SCALP EG Air-launched Cruise Missiles

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France to Provide Ukrainian Air Force with 40 SCALP EG Air-launched Cruise Missiles
France to Provide Ukrainian Air Force with 40 SCALP EG Air-launched Cruise Missiles

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday the supply of 40 SCALP EG long-range air-launched cruise missiles and a substantial quantity of bombs to Ukraine. This strategic decision underscores France’s heightened commitment to supporting Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. The SCALP EG missile system, renowned for its precision and extensive range, is poised to play a pivotal role in Ukraine’s defense strategy. Capable of striking deep into the Russian-occupied eastern regions of Ukraine, well beyond the front lines, the missiles provide Ukraine with a powerful tool to target strategic locations held by Russian forces. This capability is crucial for countering the formidable presence of Russian military assets in the region. During a press conference, President Macron emphasized the effectiveness of the SCALP EG missile system, citing its previous success in Ukrainian hands. Notably, a past operation using the missiles resulted in the destruction of significant Russian military assets in Sevastopol. This demonstrated success underscores the potential impact of this advanced missile system in the ongoing conflict.

The  SCALP EG design was based on Matra's Apache anti-runway cruise missile. A development and production contract was signed in February 1997, by which time Matra and BAe had completed the merger of their missile businesses to form Matra BAe Dynamics.
The SCALP EG design was based on Matra’s Apache anti-runway cruise missile. A production contract was signed in February 1997, by which time Matra and BAe had completed the merger of their missile businesses to form Matra BAe Dynamics.

President Macron went further to unveil plans for a bilateral security cooperation agreement between France and Ukraine. This agreement, akin to the recent pact between the United Kingdom and Kyiv, signifies a deeper commitment to Ukraine’s security and defense. Such partnerships are essential for bolstering the resilience of nations facing external threats, and France’s willingness to engage in such a pact adds another layer of support to Ukraine. The missile delivery, coupled with the supply of a substantial quantity of bombs, reflects the intensity of France’s commitment to aiding Ukraine. This contribution is part of a broader international initiative aimed at providing Ukraine with the necessary resources to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. As the conflict with Russia persists, international cooperation becomes increasingly vital in countering aggression and ensuring the stability of the region. France’s proactive stance not only reinforces Ukraine’s defense capabilities but also sends a strong message to the international community about the urgency of addressing security concerns in the region.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a commemorative inscription on the French SCALP-EG missile
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a commemorative inscription on the French SCALP-EG long-range air-launched cruise missiles.

The SCALP EG (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général; Long Range Autonomous Cruise Missile System – General Purpose) air-launched cruise missile system, known in the UK as the Storm Shadow is a Franco-British low-observable, long-range air-launched cruise missile developed since 1994 by Matra and British Aerospace, and now manufactured by MBDA. 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. To meet the requirement issued by the French Ministry of Defence for a more potent cruise missile capable of being launched from surface vessels and submarines, and able to strike strategic and military targets from extended stand-off ranges with even greater precision. The first firing test took place in July 2013 and was successful. The MdCN has been operational on French FREMM frigates since 2017 and also equips France’s Barracuda nuclear attack submarines, which entered operational service in 2022. In 2017, a joint contract to upgrade the respective Storm Shadow/SCALP stockpiles in French and British service was signed. It is expected to sustain the missile until its planned withdrawal from service in 2032.

Storm Shadow / SCALP is able to effectively engage a variety of targets such as control centres, hardened aircraft shelters, runways, buildings and bridges, SAM Systems and ships in port.
The French SCALP-EG long-range air-launched cruise missiles is able to effectively engage a variety of targets such as hardened aircraft shelters, runways, bridges, SAM Systems and ships in port.

The air-launched cruise 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 centimetres (19 in) and a wingspan of three metres (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 SCALP EG’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 centres; airfields; ports and power stations; ammunition management and storage facilities; surface ships and submarines in port; bridges and other high value strategic targets. The weapon can be launched from a number of different aircraft—the Saab Gripen, Dassault Mirage 2000, Dassault Rafale, the Panavia Tornado, both the Italian Tornado IDS and formerly the British Tornado GR4 (now retired), and a modified Sukhoi Su-24. The SCALP EG was integrated with the Eurofighter Typhoon as part of the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) in 2015, but will not be fitted to the F-35 Lightning II.

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