According to British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, on May 12th, Ukraine will receive the long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles that it has requested in order to repel invading Russian soldiers.
The weapons are the most recent in a long line of military aid items that Kyiv has received from its Western partners. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine has so far acquired a vast range of weapons and ammunition, including anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft systems, and artillery.
The Storm Shadow missiles, which each cost about £2 million, are thought to give Ukrainian forces the ability to attack Russian military targets far behind the front lines, especially in Crimea, which Moscow illegitimately occupied in 2014. This is according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, his military officers, and other experts.
Wallace stated in the Commons that “Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself.”
“Ukraine will be able to repel Russian forces stationed inside Ukrainian sovereign territory by using Storm Shadow,” he continued.
The MBDA Missile Systems company in France produces the long-range, air-launched, conventionally armed Storm Shadow deep-strike missile. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded MBDA Systems a €1.13 billion contract in 1997 for the development and production of the Storm Shadow long-range missile, according to Airforce Technology’s report.
The same year, France also gave MBDA a contract to create and produce Storm Shadow for its military. As other nations, like Greece and Italy, placed orders for the missile in the years that followed, the demand for the weapon soon increased.
Storm Shadow measures 5.10m in length, weighs 1,300 kg, and has a range of more than 250 km. It is meant to destroy highly valuable stationary targets like air bases, radar stations, communications centres, and port facilities and may be used day or night and in any weather. According to the analysis by Airforce Technology, the combination of this missile’s vast range, low altitude, and supersonic speed makes it a stealthy weapon.
Since Storm Shadow has a sophisticated navigation system with inertial navigation (INS), global positioning system (GPS), and terrain reference navigation for enhanced course management, it not only has the fire and forget technology but also provides high accuracy deep strike capability.
“The weapon lowers to a height where it can hug the terrain after launch to evade detection. To ensure a precise hit and no collateral damage, Storm Shadow’s inbuilt infrared seeker compares the target image with the stored image as it approaches the target, according to the datasheet.
The missile has a BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented CHarge) warhead, a cutting-edge warhead that first pierces the target’s surface before detonating within.
Storm Shadow is flown by Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale, Mirage 2000, and Tornado, according to MBDA. The business continued, “It has seen operational action in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. It is in service with the Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the Italian Air Force, and a number of export countries.
Storm Shadow missiles, according to experts, might support Ukraine’s eagerly expected counteroffensive. According to a study in The Telegraph, the weapon’s great range would allow Ukrainian soldiers to attack targets almost anywhere in Russia. The Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea to the Russian mainland, may be destroyed by the Ukrainians using Storm Shadow, which would be particularly significant.
“The Kerch Bridge is a key logistical node in Russian military strategy and is essential to Russia’s efforts to resupply the Kherson region of southern Ukraine. Losing the bridge would be a significant setback for the Russian military and a significant symbolic loss for Vladimir Putin, it continued.