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What is the Storm Shadow Missile Used by Ukraine to Target Russian Black Sea Fleet HQ in Crimea?



On September 20th, 2023, social media was abuzz with a video that appeared to capture cruise missiles soaring over Crimea. The missiles depicted in the video closely resemble the Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG air-to-ground missile. During this event, missiles targeted and struck the Russian Black Sea Fleet's headquarters in Crimea, coinciding with a leadership meeting.
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Ukraine uses Storm Shadow Scalp missiles to target the Russian Black Sea Fleet's headquarters in Crimea. (Picture source video footage social network)


On September 18, 2023, Ukraine also confirmed its successful deployment of the UK-supplied Storm Shadow missile to target Russia's Black Sea Fleet at the 13th Ship Repair Plant shipyard in the occupied Sevastopol on September 13, 2023. Kyiv celebrated this as a dual triumph, both technically and strategically. The strike resulted in the destruction of two significant naval assets: the Rostov-on-Don submarine and the large landing ship Minsk, creating a substantial strategic ripple effect.

In May 2023, the British Ministry of Defense confirmed the supply of long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to help Ukraine counter Russian offensives.

The Storm Shadow, also known as SCALP-EG, is a long-range, air-launched cruise missile developed jointly by the UK and France. It is designed to strike high-value, heavily defended targets from a safe distance, ensuring minimal risk to the launching aircraft. With its stealthy design, the missile can evade enemy radar systems and deliver a precision strike with a powerful warhead.

In terms of its technical features, the Storm Shadow has a length of approximately 5.1 meters (16.7 feet) and a wingspan of around 3 meters (9.8 feet) when its wings are fully deployed. The missile is powered by a turbojet engine, allowing it to travel at subsonic speeds and cover a range of over 500 kilometers. Its weight is roughly 1,300 kilograms, including a 450-kilogram BROACH warhead, which is designed to penetrate hardened structures before detonating.

One of the standout features of the Storm Shadow is its stealth capabilities. The missile's design minimizes its radar cross-section, making it challenging for enemy defenses to detect and intercept. It's equipped with a sophisticated guidance system that uses GPS, inertial navigation, and terrain reference data to find its way to the target with high accuracy. Once in the vicinity of the target, the missile employs an imaging infrared seeker to ensure pinpoint precision.

In terms of combat capabilities, the Storm Shadow is designed to be launched from a safe distance, allowing the aircraft to remain outside the range of most enemy air defenses. This stand-off capability ensures minimal risk to the launching aircraft. The missile can be programmed to fly a specific route, avoiding known defenses or taking advantage of terrain masking, making it a formidable weapon against even the most advanced and well-defended targets.


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