Storm Shadow Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM)

Storm Shadow Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM) is a long-range air-launched and conventionally-armed missile equips RAF Tornado GR4 squadrons

The RAF describe the Storm Shadow Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM) as;

This long-range air-launched and conventionally-armed missile equips RAF Tornado GR4 squadrons and saw operational service in 2003 with 617 Squadron during combat in Iraq, prior to entering full service in 2004.

Armed with a specialist penetrating warhead it is designed to destroy high value and hardened targets at stand-off ranges.

Storm Shadow CASOM

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.

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KEPD 350

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Air Hawk

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GEC Pegasus

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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.

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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.

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Tornado Storm Shadow

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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.

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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;

Availability of this world-beating system represents a significant leap forward in technology and capability for the RAF. The state of the art navigation system, providing phenomenal precision, together with the specialised bunker-busting BROACH warhead has no known equivalent in the world today.

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

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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;

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of one Storm Shadow missile; and what assessment he has made of the value for money of the Storm Shadow missile. [49247]

Peter Luff: Storm Shadow provides the UK with a unique capability for precision strike against high-value hardened targets such as command bunkers without exposing aircraft and crews to high threat levels. The missile was procured in co-operation with France following an international competition. Storm Shadow missiles which were contracted for in 1997 are now held on the Ministry of Defence’s balance sheet at a value of some £790,000 per missile. This figure includes the costs of producing an integrated weapon system and not just the purchase cost of the missile. In addition, a further £160 million was incurred by the UK in development costs.

Flight trials of the Storm Shadow on Typhoon took place in November 2013, the contracted cost for Typhoon/Storm Shadow integration is £120 million.

Eurofighter Typhoon Storm Shadow Initial Flight Trials

The UK/France Defence and Security Summit in 2014 resulted in a number of decisions, including this one on Storm Shadow/SCALP

Progress has also been made on the SCALP-EG and Storm Shadow refurbishment and upgrade programme where both governments have agreed to share data associated with national concept and assessment phase programmes. We aim to agree on a Memorandum of Understanding for staffing by early summer 2014. Looking further ahead, we continue to work to progress the joint concept study assessing possible solutions to meet our long-term requirements to replace Harpoon, Exocet, and Storm Shadow/SCALP. The concept study is due to complete later this summer.

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;

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on development of the Storm Shadow stand-off weapon; what assessment he has made of its potential advantages to the UK’s defence capabilities; and if he will make a statement. [207657]

Mr Dunne: Storm Shadow continues to provide the UK with a unique capability for precision strike against high-value hardened targets without exposing aircraft and crews to higher than necessary levels of risk.

The Storm Shadow Mid Life Refurbishment concept phase is considering options to maintain the Storm Shadow Weapons System Capability in order to meet our planning requirements. We have agreed to exchange information with France on our respective national refurbishment and upgrade programmes for Storm Shadow/SCALP EG (the French name for Storm Shadow), underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed at the Farnborough International Air Show in July 2014.

I announced in July that the Storm Shadow is to be integrated into the RAF’s Typhoon aircraft to enter service in 2018.

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.

STORM SHADOW adds attack stand-off capability to TYPHOON which now really accomplishes every possible role in the combat scenario. The aircraft retains excellent performance in an incredible low pilot workload cockpit environment, essential for a single-seat multirole aircraft,” Enrico Scarabotto, the Italian Chief Test pilot who flew the IPA2, said, while Steve Greenbank, Director of Aircraft Programmes for Military Air & Information, BAE Systems, commented on the METEOR trials: “These latest METEOR firing trials are another step forward in the integration of the missile onto the TYPHOON aircraft, demonstrating they can operate safely, accurately and effectively.”

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;

MOD has awarded a £28 million contract to support a long-range missile used by RAF Tornados and currently being integrated onto Typhoon aircraft. The contract with MBDA to support the missile over the next 5 years will ensure regular maintenance and repair of the weapon system, keeping it in a safe condition and at a high state of readiness for deployment. 

The MoD have also confirmed Storm Shadow was used against an ISIS target, specifically a number of bunkers.

Intelligence had determined that Daesh were using a large concrete bunker in western Iraq as a weapons facility. Due to the massive construction, built during the Saddam era, it was decided to use four Stormshadow missiles against it, as the weapon has particularly good capabilities against such a challenging target. The missiles were launched on Sunday 26 June by two Tornados, all four Stormshadows scored direct hits and penetrated deep within the bunker.
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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).

MBDA Missile

The MLR was formally announced in March 2017.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin has today announced a £146 million contract with MBDA to regenerate an air-launched missile, alongside her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon. The shared deal with MDBA will see the UK’s Storm Shadow and France’s SCALP missiles updated so they remain fit for purpose and ready for operational use. During an inward visit by Laurent Collet-Billon, the Minister confirmed the strong partnership with France in a series of meetings at Lancaster House. The collaboration is providing a £50 million saving for both sides. The contract will keep the missile in service for the next decade and beyond and help to sustain around 60 UK jobs. Storm Shadow is a combat-proven, long-range, precision cruise missile, already in service with RAF Tornados, deployed recently against Daesh in Iraq.

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.

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Storm Shadow Capabilities

Storm Shadow is a stand-off air-launched cruise missile designed to destroy hardened and buried targets.

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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.

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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.

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Storm Shadow BROACH

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Storm Shadow - Entry

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Storm Shadow - Exit

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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.




Table of Contents

RN TLAM 4 Introduction
MBDA Brimstone layout on Tornado Brimstone
MBDA SPEAR 3 Image 2 SPEAR Capability 3
RAF Tornado GR4's at RAF Akrotiri Cyprus being armed with the Paveway IV Laser Guided Bomb. Paveway IV
Tornado Storm Shadow Storm Shadow
Royal Navy Submarine HMS Astute Fires a Tomahawk Cruise Missile (TLAM) During Testing Near the USA Tomahawk
FASGW(H) Missile Sea Venom
Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) Martlet (Lightweight Multirole Missile)
HMS Montrose fires Harpoon Harpoon
F-35 UK Weapons Trials November 2014 ASRAAM & PAVEWAY IV shot 2 ASRAAM
RAF Typhoon Aircraft Carrying Meteor Missiles Meteor BVRAAM
Soldier Mans Starstreak HVM High Velocity Missile System During Exercise Olympic Guardian for London 2012 Starstreak HVM
Sea Ceptor missile system FLAADS(M) Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM)
Sea Viper HMS Defender Type 45 Live Fire Sea Viper/ASTER
Fire Shadow Loitering Munition Fire Shadow Loitering Munition
The final pre-acceptance trial of the GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA. Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS)
Spike NLOS Tracked Vehicle Exactor (SPIKE NLOS)
Pictured are elements of the Manoeuvre Support Group MSG from 42 Commando Royal Marines, based at Bickleigh Barracks Plymouth, whilst conducting live firing of the new Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (LFATGW) Javelin. 42 Commando Royal Marines were the first UK Armed Force to live fire the new Javelin system. The live fire demonstration was an early opportunity to see the Javelin being live fired in the UK. The future reliance on simulation,rather than live firing will mean that a demonstration such as this will be a rare event in the UK during the service life of the system. This image was submitted as part of the Peregrine 06 Photographic Competition. This image is available for non-commercial, high resolution download at subject to terms and conditions. Search for image number 45145988.jpg ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Photographer: PO (PHOT) Sean Clee Image 45145988.jpg from Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (ATGW)
NLAW Training Aid Next Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapon (NLAW)
Raytheon Defender Laser CIWS Lasers
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The Other Chris
May 14, 2016 2:52 pm

Ironically a descendent of Grand SLAM, SLAM-ER, could find it’s way onto the F-35 (as well as P-8A) depending on which flip-flop the USN are working on this month.

May 14, 2016 7:03 pm

As usual a quality piece. Couple of questions though:

– How many Storm Shadow are actually left in the stockpile? The MLU if I remember wasn’t for 700+ which would tally with numbers remaining after the operational use and testing. And if its less, what has happened to those missiles which are just over 10 years old?

– On the range of Storm Shadow. Is it credible that the range is genuinely just 250-300km? I know thats what the MoD claims, but they’re notoriously shy on performance figures. TLAM and Storm Shadow are basically the same size, same weight, same size warhead, pretty much the same engine. Storm Shadow has arguably better lift and aerodynamics, plus the advantage of being launched from altitude. So how does the TLAM have a minimum of 1,300 km range and Storm Shadow a mere 300km? It could be a case of comparing apples and oranges, Storm Shadows range quoted could be a LO-LO-LO profile whereas TLAM could be a more fuel efficient flight profile. Something just doesn’t add up. And as the Taurus/KEPD 350 range is quoted as 500km+, and it is pretty much a doppelganger for Storm Shadow I’m inclined to believe that teh quoted range for Storm Shadow is a massive understatement.

Brian Black
Brian Black
May 15, 2016 8:49 pm

Stormshadow has about 1200 lb-force of thrust compared to Tomahawk’s 700 lbf (a wheezey 600 lbf originally).

This difference in thrust may account for a portion of the range difference between the two missiles.

May 15, 2016 11:16 pm

Brian Black
Could be that. Teh speed of Storm Shadow and Tomahawk seem similar so where does that thrust go?. But…a little more digging pulls this up from an old version of the RAF website. Looks like the RAF were stating range as 300nm+ (560km) in the past. And I still think that is a serious understatement.

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
May 20, 2016 11:45 am

Unfortunately, Storm Shadow inventory was cut quite drastically under SDSR2010. I hope that wasn’t a decision we will come to regret. It’s also not clear what was actually done with the redundant missiles. I hope they were sold rather than cut up. We are not alone in this – in 2016 the French MoD said they were cutting their stocks by 100 as a cost cutting measure (according to wiki they had only purchased 500 – the RAF originally received 900).

stephen duckworth
May 20, 2016 6:31 pm

Hopefully Chris they blew the s**t out of some bad guys with them , there is more than enough who need it IMHO.

Peter Elliott
May 20, 2016 6:54 pm

I agree there are lots who deserve it: but that’s why I’m not trusted with her Majesty’s Storm Shadows :'(

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