The RAF describe the Storm Shadow Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM) as;
Armed with a specialist penetrating warhead it is designed to destroy high value and hardened targets at stand-off ranges.
Storm Shadow History
Storm Shadow has its roots in the 1982 Falkland Islands conflict.
Staff work on the 1982 Long Range Stand Off Missile was eventually absorbed in the 1987 seven countries NATO Modular Stand Off Weapon (MSOW) programme. The MSOW partner nations included the USA, UK, Spain, Canada, France, West Germany and Italy. France and Canada withdrew citing concerns over work share. MSOW requirements included three different size missiles and a modular payload concept. The variants were for a short range anti-tank, long range static target and long range mobile target.
Alliance Defence Corporation (ADC), headed by Rockwell, won the competition against General Dynamics but the deal was far from done. The USAF effectively killed off the programme by withdrawing in 1989, reportedly over differences on the concept of operations with the RAF. The USAF, in particular, wanted to drop the heavy (1,600kg) long-range version that the RAF particularly wanted for Tornado. Differences over the ‘stealthiness’ of the design was also a concern for the USAF and others.
With MSOW dead, the RAF and others went back to the drawing board.
Matra and BAE Dynamics started a discussion about merging their guided weapon units in 1992.
The 1994 Staff Requirement (Air) 1236 defined the need for a stand-off missile to be used against hardened targets such as aircraft shelters or command and control nodes.
A number of systems were proposed;
- Daimler-Benz Aerospace/SaaB Kinetic Energy Penetrating Destroyer (KEPD) 250/350
- Texas Instruments/Shorts Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW)
- Rafael Popeye Turbo
- GEC Marconi/BAE Pegasus; the PGM-4 variant of the Hakim B equipped with a Teledyne Ryan micro turbojet. The PGM-4 had to be redesigned so as not to breach Missile Technology Control Regime obligations, it was also called Centaur.
- Kentron MUPSOW; a version of a weapon then in development for the South African Air Force Multi-Purpose Stand Off Weapon (MUPSOW) programme that would go on to be called Torgos, a weapon with the engine, tail and rear fuselage as the Pegasus/Centaur
- Hughes/Smiths Industries Airhawk, a shortened Tomahawk cruise missile
- McDonnell Douglas/Hunting Grand SLAM derived from the Harpoon
- A derivative of the Matra Apache missile called Storm Shadow.
Different industry groupings and partnerships emerged with pretty much every possible combination of new and developments of existing systems explored, even to the point of a proposal for a ‘Golden Eagle’, an enlarged version of Sea Eagle. Multiple designs were also proposed by some bidders in order to allow the smaller Harrier to carry it.
CASOM was intended to arm Harrier, Tornado and EF2000 (Typhoon)
To complicate matters, in 1994, Matra offered the Apache C to the Royal Navy for the Surface to Surface Guided Weapon Requirement.
Eventually, an enlarged Matra Apache C emerged as the leading choice, Germany was integrating it on their Tornado fleet and the unitary warhead instead of submunitions meant more space was available for fuel, thus meeting the 250km minimum range requirement. The Matra Apache was ahead of its time, the first of such system in Europe, at 1,230 kg it was not small, but had a range of 140km and could carry ten KRISS runway denial submunitions.
The new system was to be called Storm Shadow.
SRA 1236 was very much beset by politics, its selection would pave the way for the merger of BAE Dynamics and Matra; the French government had blocked the merger, contingent on Storm Shadow being selected by the MoD. If the MoD chose the US or Israeli solution, Suadi Arabia would not be interested or likely able to obtain it for their Tornado fleet.
The £700 million contract to develop and manufacture Storm Shadow was signed in 1997 with Matra BAe Dynamics. Germany then went its own way with the Taurus KEPD 350, a system broadly comparable to Storm Shadow.
The French MoD awarded Matra BAe Dynamics a Fr6 Billion contract in 1998 for 500 SCALP-EG (Emploi General) missiles in 1998. SCALP-EG and Storm Shadow are practically identical.
Storm Shadow was selected by Italy in 1999 and some initial funding from the French MoD was used by Matra BAe Dynamics to investigate ground, sea and submarine launching options.
First flight of Storm Shadow took place at the end of 2000 with more carried out over the next few years.
In 2002, France started detailed development of a naval variant of Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG. At the end of the project definition phase, MBDA had concluded that the best approach was to take components from SCALP but house them in a new airframe that could fit within a 535mm standard torpedo tube. The Royal Navy was fully briefed during the development. For launching from the SLYVER Vertical Launch System, a booster would be used to eject the missile and turn it over to the direction of travel.
During the opening stages of Operation TELIC, RAF Tornado GR.4’s fired 27 Storm Shadow missiles, despite not being formally accepted into service. The missile releases were conducted by Tornado GR.4 aircraft from 617 Squadron, the Dambusters.
Storm Shadow was formally accepted into RAF service in October 2004, the CASOM Team Leader at the MoD commented;
MBDA announced a series of potential upgrades for Storm Shadow in July 2004. The French MoD funded a €15m programme that demonstrated the potential for a one-way datalink from the missile to launch aircraft that would relay information in real-time to allow some basic bomb damage assessment to be made. Follow-on studies were intended to show how a two-way data link could be used to re-target the missile whilst it was still in flight. Other options reportedly included an improved airframe design and new seeker, the latter at the expense of some range.
The CASOM project out-turned at £981 million, for what is reported to be a 900 missile stock.
In 2008, the MoD announced the Storm Shadow Capability Enhancement Programme (SSCEP).
Storm Shadow was used in Operation ELLAMY, Libya 2011, by France, Italy and the UK.
On 19 Mar 11, four Tornado GR4s launched on a historic 3,000-mile round trip to conduct a deep strike Storm Shadow attack on key Libyan installations. The aircraft returned to RAF Marham in the early hours of Sunday morning having achieved 8 direct hits from eight weapons delivered
The MoD revealed that during Operational ELLAMY, the UK fired 80 Storm Shadow and Tomahawk cruise missiles although they decided not to details the quantities for each due to security concerns.
A 2011 Parliamentary Question revealed the cost of a Storm Shadow;
Flight trials of the Storm Shadow on Typhoon took place in November 2013, the contracted cost for Typhoon/Storm Shadow integration is £120 million.
The UK/France Defence and Security Summit in 2014 resulted in a number of decisions, including this one on Storm Shadow/SCALP
This new missile is notionally designed to meet the SPEAR Cap 5 requirement, intended to be in service between 2030 and 2035.
In September 2014, a Parliamentary Question revealed Storm Shadow related details;
A month after that, Janes confirmed the name of the joint UK/France missile would be Future Cruise and Anti-Ship Weapon (FCASW) / Futur Missile Antinavire/Futur Missile de Croisière (FMAN/FMC).
The first release of a Storm Shadow missile from a Typhoon was completed in November 2015.
The MoD confirmed that Storm Shadow integration had been dropped for the UK’s F-35B in January 2016, instead, it will likely concentrate on the SPEAR Capability 5 in the longer term. Storm Shadow was a threshold weapon in the original Operational Requirements Document (ORD). This means the UK’s Carrier Strike capability centred on the QE Class Carriers and F-35B will have no stand-off deep strike capability against hardened targets until 2030.
Work towards full qualification for Storm Shadow in Typhoon continues as part of the P2E package, intended to be complete by 2018, in time for Tornado OSD in 2019.
In early July 2016, the MoD confirmed a support contract award for Storm Shadow;
The MoD have also confirmed Storm Shadow was used against an ISIS target, specifically a number of bunkers.
Storm Shadow is in service (or ordered) with France, the UK, Italy, Greece, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE (Black Shaheen variant) and Egypt (Black Shaheen variant)
Usage figures were updated in September 2016 with the publication of the Parliamentary Defence Select Committee Report on Operations Against Daesh.
Four were used against targets in Iraq.
Storm Shadow will be subject to a Mid-Life Refurbishment (MLR) that will meet the SPEAR Capability 4 requirement, with a currently planned start date of 2017. This will take Storm Shadow to it’s planned out of service period of around 2030, when it will be replaced with the SPEAR Capability 5 system, notionally, the UK/France Future Cruise and Anti-Ship Weapon (FCASW) / Futur Missile Antinavire/Futur Missile de Croisière (FMAN/FMC).
The MLR was formally announced in March 2017.
The contract includes refurbishment of the turbo-jet engine, an upgrade of the navigational system, and a like for like replacement of items such as the cabling, seals and gaskets, especially those that are life expired.
Storm Shadow Capabilities
Storm Shadow is a stand-off air-launched cruise missile designed to destroy hardened and buried targets.
It weighs 1,300kg, is 5.1m long and a width of approximately 0.5m. Using a Turbomeca Microturbo TRI 60-30 turbine engine it has a range that is variously reported, but generally accepted to be between 250km and 300km. This stand-off range allows the UK to attack targets without entering the engagement zone of anti-aircraft weapons.
Once released, wings deploy and using its GPS/INS and Terrain Profile Matching (TERPROM) navigation system guides the missile to the target area at a low level using terrain avoidance and masking. On the final approach, the nose cone is jettisoned and the infra-red sensor guides the missile to the impact point, performing terminal manoeuvre as required.
This image recognition terminal guidance system is extremely accurate, there have been reports of Storm Shadow missiles following each other down the first entry hole and this accuracy provides mission planners with many options, especially when seeking to exploit target weaknesses or avoiding surrounding areas.
The mission planning software allows every detail of the flight to be pre-programmed.
Apart from extreme accuracy, the second element of Storm Shadow effectiveness is the sophisticated warhead it carries, the Bomb, Royal Ordnance, Augmenting CHarge (BROACH). BROACH uses a precursor penetrator charge followed by a follow through main charge. Combined with an advanced fuze (like Paveway IV, from Thales) it has proven to be devastatingly effective.
BROACH is also in service on the US Joint Stand-Off Weapon, AGM-154C
Storm Shadow was also the first weapon in UK service to be fully compliant with IM requirements.
Although details are scarce, SPEAR Capability 4 seems to be a relatively modest refurbishment programme, rather than the more ambitious concepts such as longer range, a two data link and improved stealth explored previously. No doubt we will find out when the contract is announced.