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Update: Mid-Life Refurbishment of UK Storm Shadow stockpile nears completion

An upgraded Storm Shadow SPEAR Cap 4 long-range deep-strike weapon engages a target during operational evaluation trials at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, in mid-2021. (UK Ministry of Defence)

MBDA is expected to finalise the Selective Precision Effects At Range Capability 4 (SPEAR Cap 4) regeneration of the UK's Storm Shadow air-launched, conventionally armed, deep-strike weapon inventory later in 2022.

SPEAR Cap 4 is the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD)-sanctioned Mid-Life Refurbishment (MLR) project for the MBDA-developed Storm Shadow missile. Storm Shadow is the UK designator for the weapon system; in French service, the missile is designated SCALP EG (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général).

The UK Defence Equipment Plan 2021, released on 21 January 2022, confirmed that SPEAR Cap 4 was formally accepted into UK Royal Air Force (RAF) service in January. “Storm Shadow MLR/SPEAR Cap 4 entered into service in early 2022, following highly successful denied-environment trials during mid-2021,” an MBDA spokesperson told Janes . “The upgrade of the stockpile has been running for several years now and final upgrades are expected to complete in 2022,” the spokesperson added.

In mid-2021 a combined MBDA/Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S)/US team conducted a series of operational evaluation (OPEVAL) trials of the Storm Shadow SPEAR Cap 4 weapon system at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. Four weapons were launched from FGR4 Eurofighter Typhoon multirole combat aircraft from the UK RAF's 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron Typhoon during the course of the OPEVAL trials, which included jamming the missile's navigation system to demonstrate whether the system could successfully operate in a realistic threat environment.

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