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Ukraine conflict: Macron pledges SCALP cruise missiles for Kyiv

As seen at the Paris Air Show 2023, the MBDA SCALP and Storm Shadow are essentially the same cruise missile as fielded by France and the UK, respectively. Ukraine will shortly be armed with both types, following President Emmanuel Macron's announcement of deliveries at the NATO summit in Vilnius. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to deliver “deep strike” missiles to Kyiv in the context of Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces.

Speaking at 2023 NATO Vilnius Summit in Lithuania, Macron said that missiles are being provided to enable the Armed Forces of Ukraine to strike deep behind Russian lines.

“I think France is a big contributor to the defence of the east. Given the situation of the counteroffensive being undertaken by Ukraine, I have taken the decision to allow the delivery of equipment and arms to strike deep into Ukraine. We are continuing with our doctrine to allow Ukraine to defend its territory, and we have decided to deliver a new missile, which permits deep strike.”

Although not mentioned by name by Macron, the air-launched MBDA Systéme de Croisiére Autonone á Longue Portée de precision (SCALP) cruise missile is the only weapon in French military inventory that fits the description. The SCALP is the French version of the British Storm Shadow missile, with both having entered service with their respective air forces in the early 2000s.

As noted by Janes Weapons: Air Launched , the missile was designed for the launch at stand-off ranges from the target, using pre‐planned mission data. The SCALP/Storm Shadow ingresses to the target at a very low altitude using continuously updated inertial navigation, with the ‘stealthy' airframe reducing its radar cross-section to hamper interception.

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