Ukraine Situation Report: France Sending SCALP-EG Cruise Missiles

The French move to provide SCALP-EG air-launched cruise missiles comes after the U.K. delivered essentially identical missiles to Kyiv.

MAY 16, 2023 

Following the United Kingdom’s announcement that it had sent Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country will provide Kyiv with virtually identical weapons called SCALP-EGs.

Macron announced his decision Monday to the French TF1Info media outlet. Deliveries of French SCALP-EGs will only further expand the Ukrainian military’s stand-off strike arsenal.

With a stated range in excess of 155 miles, these missiles give Ukraine’s forces additional munitions that exceed the range and punch of anything previously provided by the United States or the country’s other international partners, at least that we know about. The missiles, which contain warheads capable of penetrating hardened targets, have stealthy features and use low-altitude flight profiles to reduce the possibility of interception. You can read more about what these missiles bring to the table for the Ukrainian Air Force in our previous deep dive on Storm Shadow here.

By comparison, the vaunted Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) artillery rockets provided by the U.S. and allies – fired by the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and variants and derivatives of the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) provided to Ukraine – have a range of some 43 miles and a smaller warhead.

The Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) the United States has said it will be providing have a range of about 94 miles with a smaller warhead than the one found inside SCALP-EG and Storm Shadow.

The U.S.-donated Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extend Range, or JDAM-ER, air-launched precision-guided bomb has a range of about 45 miles with considerable destructive power, the implications of which The War Zone has previously explored in detail.

The Russian Defense Ministry (MoD), meanwhile, claims Ukraine has already used Storm Shadows on Luhansk City. Pictures purporting to show debris from at least one of the missiles have been circulating online.

It remains unclear how the Ukrainians might be employing Storm Shadows. The Ukrainian Air Force is using “specially modernized” Su-24 Fencers “under the cover of MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters with [AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile] HARM” missiles to launch the Storm Shadows, the Russian Izvestia news agency reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources. The War Zone had previously noted that Ukraine’s Su-24s and Su-27s are the only aircraft it has that could realistically carry these missiles at all.

“To ensure the safety of their aviation, the Ukrainian command is actively using false targets in the form of UAVs,” according to Izvestia. The Russian outlet’s story did not specify what kinds of drones might be being used for this purpose, but there is evidence that Ukrainian forces have also been employing U.S.-made ADM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoys (MALD), as you can read more about here.

When the French SCALP-EGs will be delivered to Ukraine is still unknown, but we will continue to monitor this and let you know when we find out.

Before we head into the latest from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on our previous rolling coverage here.

One comment

  1. Macron and Scholz have baffled me in the past few days. What happened to them? Anyone have a clue?
    Anyhow, this is highly welcome news, of course. Maybe we’ll get F-16s or similar planes in Ukraine soon???

    The images by the cockroaches, by the way, as purported proof of their downing of a Storm Shadow, must be taken with a bag of salt. These pieces could’ve been collected after the missile destroyed its target.

Enter comments here: