• What are SCALP Missiles and How May They Affect Ukraine’s Counteroffensive?

MOSCOW (Agencies): French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to provide Ukraine with SCALP long-range cruise missiles won’t affect the existing status quo given the experience the Russian military gained while thwarting the weapon’s analog called “Storm Shadow”, a Russian military expert told Sputnik.
During the NATO summit in Vilnius, President Emmanuel Macron committed to providing dozens of SCALP long-range missiles to Ukraine. However, the French president did not specify when the weapons would be delivered to Kiev. France has become the second country, after the UK, to equip Ukraine with long-range rockets.
“In light of the situation and the counteroffensive being conducted by Ukraine, I have decided to increase deliveries of weapons and equipment and to provide the Ukrainians with deep strike capabilities,” Macron told journalists upon arrival at the summit.
What is the Difference Between SCALP and Storm Shadow?
The SCALP-EG (Emploi Général, meaning General Purpose) is a French name for “Storm Shadow,” the stealthy air-launched long range, conventionally armed, deep strike weapon, produced by European multinational missile-maker MBDA. The missile was based on the Apache, a French-developed, air-launched, anti-runway cruise missile.

  • What is the Range of a SCALP/Storm Shadow Missile?

The SCALP is powered by a turbojet at Mach 0.8 (987.8 km/h). It weighs 1300 kg which includes a conventional warhead of 450 kilograms. The weapon’s length and diameter are 5.10 meters and 0.166 m, respectively, with a wingspan of 3 m. The missile costs approximately $3.19 million per unit.

  • How Do SCALP and Storm Shadow Operate?

The SCALP is a “fire-and-forget” missile, meaning that it is programmed before launch. Having been launched the missile cannot be controlled: it follows its path semi-autonomously. Close to its target, the weapon climbs to a higher altitude to maximize the odds of penetrating the target. Finally, it hits the target before a delayed fuse explodes the main warhead.

  • How Are SCALPs and Storm Shadows Carried?

The weapon can be carried by the Tornado GR4, Italian Tornado IDS, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Mirage 2000 and Dassault Rafale aircraft. It was used by the UK, France and Italy in the Gulf, Iraq and Libya attacks.
When it comes to Ukraine, it was earlier reported that the nation’s air force would use the Su-24 – a supersonic, all-weather tactical bomber developed in the Soviet Union – for launching the Franco-British weapon. Initially, pictures released by the Ukrainian media showed a Su-24 with a Storm Shadow placed under the fixed-wing “glove” pylon. Ukraine’s Su-24 combat and Su-24MR reconnaissance warplanes have been modified to fire the stealthy long-range missile.

  • Can Russia Intercept SCALP and Storm Shadow Missiles?

The missile is very difficult to detect due to its extremely small radar cross-section (RCS), according to Knutov. “That is, the Storm Shadow [SCALP EG] has a radar cross-section of 0.01 to 0.03 square meters, which is very small,” he said.
Nonetheless, Russia’s air defenses are capable of detecting and destroying the Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles, Knutov underscored. The Ministry of Defense has repeatedly reported about intercepting the Franco-British stealthy long-range missiles.
What’s more, Russian forces’ recent capture of a Storm Shadow missile may prove invaluable for studying ways to defeat the weapon. The rocket was shot down in the Zaporozhye region and remained mostly intact. Dissecting the missile could uncover its potential weaknesses and determine the optimal direction from which to strike the cruise missile with an interceptor.
According to the military expert, that will allow Russia to improve its radars and missile guidance stations to better detect the stealthy missiles. He explained that studying the body of the rockets is important, because the Russian engineers will be able to see which range of radio waves transmitted by the missile is radio-transparent and which is partly reflected. “It will be possible to create electronic warfare systems that will more effectively affect the homing heads of both Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles,” Knutov said.

  • How Many SCALPs is France Sending to Ukraine?

In his statement, Macron did not specify the number of missiles, but Western media cite sources saying that France may deliver 50 units to Ukraine.
“If we are talking about 50 missiles (…) one should bear in mind that it could be more than 50,” Knutov said. “This may be a leak that is organized for the media. Of course, they play a certain role, because now the NATO bloc is trying to help the Kiev regime to somehow break through our defense line.”

  • Will SCALP Make a Difference on the Ukrainian Battlefield?

NATO is sending longer-range missiles to strike Russia’s personnel, ammo, equipment, and command posts which are currently kept at a distance of over 100 km from the frontline, according to the expert.
The US-made HIMARS are launching rockets with a strike range of 80 km which is not enough in the eyes of NATO war planners to exert pressure on the Russian Armed Forces. NATO member states sending missiles with a range of 300 kilometers, like Storm Shadow/SCALP (or, potentially, the US-made ATACMS), pose a certain challenge to the Russian military, the expert noted.

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