MBDA, the multinational missile developer, was chosen by the French and British defense agencies in 2016 for a missile modernization project. The focus of this renovation effort was the SCALP EG cruise missile, commonly referred to as the “Storm Shadow”.
The Origins of the SCALP EG Cruise Missile
The cruise missile in question has its origins in the naval cruise missile (MdCN) on the “Provence” multi-mission frigate. The first operational use of the MdCN took place in April 2018 during a campaign known as Operation Hamilton. This operation was a response to the chemical attacks orchestrated by the Syrian government.
Technical Issues Revealed
However, the operation exposed some issues. Of the six missiles planned for launch, only three were shot due to technical difficulties. A report made following the operation pointed out these technical problems while also suggesting possible enhancements. The report also touched on doctrinal issues, particularly the operation in areas with established access denial means. These factors will likely be taken into account in the future renovation of the MdCN.
Preparing for Missile Upgrades
The DGA, France's armament directorate, has commissioned a study from MBDA to lay the groundwork for missile improvements. The renovated missile is also slated to equip the new Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines. The contract for this ERMIN study is valued at a hefty 11.3 million euros.
Other Interested Parties
The renovation has also captured the interest of the Italian Navy which may potentially acquire the MdCN.
The Missile’s Features
- The MdCN is powered by a Microturbo TR 50 single-flow turbojet.
- The missile weighs in at a launch weight of 2 tons and is 7 meters long.
- It boasts a range of approximately 1000 km.
- Its navigational capabilities comprise an inertial navigation system and a GPS device, which can be recalibrated mid-flight.
- Terminal guidance is achieved through an infrared homing device or based on coordinates.