France, UK Launch Upgrade of Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles

Britain and France are working together to upgrade their air-launched cruise missile, called Storm Shadow by the UK and Scalp-EG by France. This French air force Rafale deployed to the Middle East carries a Scalp on each outboard pylon. (FR MoD photo)

At their meeting on 22 February in London, Director-General of Armaments Laurent Collet-Billon and his British counterpart, Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin, noted concrete progress on the major projects of the Franco-British cooperation in armaments.

In particular, in the field of missiles, they welcomed the launch of the modernization of the SCALP-EG / Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles. After the British awarded their own contract in October 2016, calling for the delivery of the first upgraded missiles scheduled for the end of 2018, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) notified the French contract on December 30th.

This contract satisfies the requirement of the Air Force and Navy to guarantee the availability and operational effectiveness of the SCALP-EG missile on the Mirage 2000D and Rafale combat aircraft beyond 2030.

The first upgraded missiles will be delivered in 2020.

The SCALP / Storm Shadow long-range air-to-ground missile program was born in the 1990s and was the subject of cooperation between France and the United Kingdom.

The modernization of the missiles will be carried out by MBDA. They will benefit from the studies carried out by France and the United Kingdom, and follow a joint design phase launched in July 2014.

They will build on the centers of excellence implemented following the ratification of the Intergovernmental agreement known as "one complex weapon," which allows MBDA to rationalize and optimize its industrial facilities on both sides of the English Channel.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A spokesman for France’s DGA declined to provide any details as to the contract’s cost and the number of missiles involved, but said the £50 million savings mentioned in the UK’s communiqué (see below) is the total for both countries, and not for each.
The UK will be the first to receive the upgraded missile, with redeliveries to France beginning two years later, in 2020.)


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.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin said: “Storm Shadow is a proven and vital missile for the RAF, and this £146 million upgrade will ensure it is always ready for whenever our Armed Forces might need it to defend our way of life.

“This contract is an important part of the Government’s £178 billion plan to ensure our armed forces have the right equipment at the right time.”

The midlife refurbishment programme has been developed in co-operation with the French Government, who will be updating their own similar missile known as SCALP.

By taking advantage of the similarities, this collaboration not only reaffirms the strong defence relationship as outlined under the Lancaster House Agreement, but has also resulted in a £50 million saving for both the UK and France.

The regeneration will consist of a midlife refurbishment of current missile parts such as 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.

The work will sustain around 60 jobs at MBDA in Stevenage and Bolton, in a variety of roles including software and systems engineering. Over 40 jobs will also be sustained through the supply chain.

Chief Executive at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, Tony Douglas said: “The contract to regenerate Storm Shadow, a combat-proven, all-weather precision missile, provides a clear example of the MOD and UK industry working effectively together with our counter parts in France; providing our UK Armed Forces with the best equipment possible while sustaining dozens of UK jobs.”

Storm Shadow is designed to target substantial buildings and structures, such as military facilities, control centres, bunkers, missile sites, airfields and bridges, which might otherwise require the use of several aircraft over the course of numerous missions.

France is the UK’s most important European Ally, with both countries’ defence budgets together account for almost half of all European defence spending. This deal is the most recent example of collaboration in a long history of cooperation on defence and security. The £146 million investment in Storm Shadow will sustain the missile until its planned out of service date in 2032.

Laurent Collet-Billon, Délégué Général pour l’Armement said: “This deep-strike missile mid-life update was jointly prepared. It represents a new step in the Franco-British cooperation roadmap and strengthens the Franco-British strategic partnership in the armament field.”


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