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Ukraine strikes Russian military headquarters using British Storm Shadow cruise missiles

According to Sky News, on April 15, 2024, Ukrainian aircraft launched British-made Storm Shadow cruise missiles at a Russian military headquarters in the occupied city of Luhansk. The strike, which was carried out on Saturday, April 13, 2024, targeted a major bastion for the Russian armed forces. A military source revealed that the command base for Russian ground troops was the target, marking a significant step in Ukraine's campaign to reclaim the Luhansk region from Russian control.
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STORM SHADOW / SCALP Long-range air-launched attack cruise missile (Picture source: Army Recognition )

The anonymous source explained that losing this headquarters could severely disrupt Russia's command capabilities in the Luhansk area. The attack on Russian military command nodes causes disarray among ground forces, as Russian military operations are heavily reliant on micromanagement and centralized command. Therefore, eliminating such a headquarters could significantly hinder Russian military decision-making for the foreseeable future.

The operation also highlighted the vulnerabilities of Russian air defenses, indicating that the destruction of this headquarters was a major blow to the Russian military. It also shows Ukraine's continued ability to target Russian forces wherever they operate. The headquarters was located in an industrial complex in the south-central part of Luhansk.

Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, head of the Ukrainian Air Force, praised Ukrainian pilots on the social media site Telegram for their successful airstrike against a Russian target in the Luhansk region on April 13, 2024. He commended the pilots for their flawless execution and safe return to base, as reported by the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

The Storm Shadow is an air-launched cruise missile developed jointly by the United Kingdom and France. It was previously used in June 2023 in a strike that damaged the Chonhar Bridge, connecting Crimea to southern Ukraine. Notably, France has also agreed to supply these missiles to Ukraine under the name SCALP. Weighing 1,300 kilograms, the Storm Shadow is powered by a Turbomeca Microturbo TRI 60-30 jet engine, producing a thrust of 5.4 kN, which enables it to reach speeds of 1,000 km/h. The missile is 5.1 meters long, with a diameter of 0.48 meters and a wingspan of 3.0 meters.

The operational range of the Storm Shadow is 560 kilometers, but the export version is limited to 250 kilometers. This range allows it to strike deep within enemy territory without jeopardizing the launching aircraft, making it especially effective in the Ukrainian conflict context.

Its payload includes a 450-kilogram BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge) warhead, which delivers considerable destructive force upon impact. The guidance system comprises inertial, GPS, and TERPROM (Terrain Profile Matching) systems, enhancing navigation accuracy. Additionally, during its terminal phase, the Storm Shadow employs an infrared DSMAC (Digital Scene-Mapping Area Correlator) imaging system for precise targeting.

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