Ukraine receives more French air-launched SCALP cruise missiles

Ukraine has successfully acquired a shipment of SCALP (Système de croisière conventionnel autonome à longue portée, Autonomous long-range conventional cruise system) air-launched cruise missiles from France, as confirmed by Vadym Omelchenko, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Paris, on August 22, 2023. Contrary to what many media outlets have reported, this is not the first delivery of SCALP missiles: they have already been used by the Ukrainians, with some even being captured and displayed by the Russians at the Army 2023 expo in Moscow.
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SCALP Long-range air-launched attack cruise missile (Picture source: Army Recognition )

The Ambassador also emphasized that the supply of SCALP missiles will continue. "The pace of these deliveries is crucial, and France has been very efficient in this regard," he clarified. Ambassador Omelchenko also discussed the likelihood of France supplying Ukraine with new SAMP/T air defense batteries. "The prospects look promising. All involved parties recognize the urgency of delivering these systems to Ukraine," he noted.

The SAMP/T (Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain) is a French land-based air defense system developed by Eurosam. It is designed to protect military forces and sensitive civilian or military sites, offering a strategic advantage with its Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities. The system provides 360-degree protection and can detect targets up to 350 km away and intercept them beyond 150 km. It is also capable of detecting and intercepting maneuvering ballistic missiles with a range beyond 600 km.

The SCALP cruise missile is a joint technological development by France and the United Kingdom. Designed to be air-launched, this long-range missile weighs 1,300 kg and has a range of 560 km. However, the export version, which is sent to Ukraine, is limited to 250 km to prevent its use against Russian territory.

It is employed by various countries, including Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, India, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Its speed ranges between Mach 0.8 and 0.95, approximately 1,000 km/h, depending on the altitude at which it operates.

The missile is equipped with a 450-kilogram BROACH warhead. To ensure its accuracy, the missile uses a guidance system combining inertial navigation, GPS, and TERPROM. Additionally, in its terminal phase, it employs an imaging infrared DSMAC guidance system. Powered by a Turbomeca Microturbo TRI 60-30 turbojet, the SCALP produces a thrust of 5.4 kN. Dimension-wise, the missile is 5.1 meters long, with a diameter of 0.48 meters and a wingspan of 3.0 meters.

While some media outlets claim this is the first delivery of French SCALP missiles, in reality, evidence of their use on the Ukrainian battlefield is widespread online. A significant proof of their deployment by Ukrainian armed forces is the display of a model in Moscow during the Army 2023 expo.

Ukraine has long advocated for robust air defense systems to shield against Russian aerial incursions and to possess retaliatory capabilities. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently emphasized that Ukraine's current defenses are insufficient to protect its entire territory from Russian aggression. He has urged allies to supply long-range missiles, including the U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the German Taurus cruise missiles.