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Breaking News: French President Macron Announces Delivery of 40 SCALP-EG Missiles to Ukraine.

| Defense News Army 2024

During a press conference held on January 16, 2024, French President Emmanuel Macron made a significant announcement regarding France's support to Ukraine amidst ongoing tensions. Answering a journalist's inquiry about the situation in Ukraine, President Macron revealed a key decision involving military aid. The French government plans to deliver 40 SCALP-EG air-to-ground missiles to Ukraine.
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A Ukrainian Su-24M bomber aircraft armed with SCALP-EG air-to-ground missiles. (Picture source Ukraine MoD)

This move is part of France's commitment to providing short and long-term support to the country. The delivery of these missiles marks a crucial step in France's efforts to aid Ukraine in its defense capabilities.

Firstly, he announced the upcoming signing of a bilateral agreement between France and Ukraine. Additionally, France will deliver about forty SCALP-EG air-to-ground missiles and a hundred bombs, the model and type of which are unknown. This delivery will be swift, with a portion arriving during the French President's visit to Ukraine in February 2024. France will also supply CAESAr self-propelled howitzers (155 mm), a significant boon to the Ukrainian artillery with their shoot-and-scoot capability and mobility.

As of the information available, France is the primary country that has delivered SCALP missiles to Ukraine in the context of the conflict with Russia. The first batch of these French SCALP long-range cruise missiles was received by Ukraine on August 22, 2023. This delivery was confirmed by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Paris, Vadym Omelchenko, and was mentioned as a trial run with the missiles performing well in testing. The SCALP missiles have a significant range and are known for their precision and destructive capabilities. There are no reports of other countries having delivered SCALP missiles to Ukraine in this context.

The SCALP-EG missile, known as the Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée et d'Emploi Général, offers Ukraine a long-range strike capability. With a range of 250 kilometers, Ukrainian Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers have successfully launched SCALP-EG missiles and their English equivalent, Storm Shadow, against Russian targets in Crimea, including a corvette, a heavy landing ship, a submarine, the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, several strategic bridges, and a command center (summary of impacts and consequences in this article).

The SCALP-EG missile is formidable: developed and produced by MBDA, it uses a triple guidance system (GPS, INS, and terrain-referenced navigation). Although not stealthy, it has a reduced radar signature compared to equivalent missiles. It flies at a low altitude (about thirty meters) to its target, with meter-precision targeting. The missile features a dual warhead, capable of penetrating the roof of a building or bunker before detonating the main charge inside the target, significantly increasing damage to the objective.

The Ukrainian Air Force has showcased its Su-24М tactical bomber armed with the French SCALP EG cruise missile. This demonstration of the foreign air-launched cruise missiles occurred during the celebration of Air Force Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on July 6, 2023. The adaptation of these missiles to the Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft is similar to the process used for the British Storm Shadow missiles, indicating a significant enhancement in Ukraine's military capabilities. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was also seen making an inscription on a SCALP EG missile mounted on the Su-24М bomber, underlining the importance of this new armament for Ukraine's defense strategy.

Additionally, it's noteworthy that the SCALP-EG can be considered the French "sister" of the British Storm Shadow missile, sharing a visual similarity and being based on the same project. This missile is known for its long-range air-to-ground capabilities and can effectively penetrate air defense systems to destroy significant stationary targets. It's reported that the French Air Force has previously used SCALP-EG missiles in military operations in Libya, against ISIS, and in Syria. The operational range of the SCALP-EG is over 250 km in the export version, with a greater range for the French and British armies. This new capability significantly boosts Ukraine's military strength, especially in terms of conducting precise and effective strikes.

Defense News January 2024

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