Watch a French Rafale use Scalp air-launched cruise missiles against ISIS targets for the first time

The French Air Force has used the Scalp missile against Daesh for the very first time.

On Dec. 15, the French Air Force conducted a raid against ISIS targets using the Scalp-EG cruise missile for the first time since the beginning of Operation Chammal.

According to a statement from the French Ministry of Defense  the ai strike involved ten aircraft from their deployment airfields in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

The raid targeted Daesh headquarters, training center and a logistics deposit, including some hardened buildings, in the region of al-Qaim, near the border separating Iraq from Syria.

Scalp EG (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général, General Purpose Long Range Standoff Cruise Missile) is the French designation for the MBDA Storm Shadow, a conventional, stealthy, 1.300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt long), designed for use against very high value targets in all-weather conditions from a safe distance of about 250 km.

After release, the 900K Euro-a-piece air-launched cruise missile’s wings deploy and the weapon navigates its way to the target at low-level using terrain profile matching and an integrated Global Positioning System.

Hitting the target, the 450 kg BROACH warhead uses an initial penetrating charge to enter a fortified bunker, then a variable delay fuze controls detonation of the main warhead.

At least 15 Scalp missiles were fired by the French combat planes in Libya in 2011.

The missile is already in service with the RAF and Italian Tornados, that have also extensively used it in combat during Libya Air War.

H/T François Bouder for the heads-up

 

About David Cenciotti 4426 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

11 Comments

  1. Firing a 900K shot instead of dropping a 100K bomb that would do the job just as good. Modern militaries enjoy the availability of smart weapons, but suffers from dumb managers.

    • It’s probably done because this is an opportunity to test it under combat conditions, and also to show it off to potential customers. Furthermore, the AASM guided bomb the French developed is obscenely expensive (something like 300k euro a pop) so there isn’t so much of a gap. Finally, by using up stocks the Armee de l’Air can go back to the government to say they need more and that’s the point at which they ask for something new and better

      • Once again, it is not the first time the French Air Force fire SCALP missiles. They already did it in Libya against Kadhafi’s army bunkers.

    • true, although it’s also an opportunity to test them against real targets. same reason the Russians launched cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea or from subs in the Mediterranean.

      • It is not the first time the French Airforce fire SCALP missiles. They already did it in Libya against Kadhafi’s army bunkers.

    • “Hitting the target, the 450 kg BROACH warhead uses an initial penetrating charge to enter a fortified bunker, then a variable delay fuze controls detonation of the main warhead.”

      Tell us what the FAF has in it’s inventory that has comparable penetration performance to the BROACH warhead?

      “The raid targeted Daesh headquarters, training center and a logistics deposit, including some hardened buildings, in the region of al-Qaim, near the border separating Iraq from Syria.”

      Considering the Russians moved in SAM’s, would you be dumb enough to send manned aircraft to the vicinity?

      Don’t answer that, we already know.

    • I’m sure a lot is involved in choosing the right armament for the right job but as a layman, I can’t help but think ‘commission’ is somewhere near the very top.

  2. It feels “bumpy” at release. Automated flight control systems must have been busy for a few moments.

    Also, ain’t it a first for the Rafale, launching SCALP under daylight? IIRC all precedent releases were at night. Seems they used clouds as a cover for that one.

    From what I heard reason to use this ordnance was because of multiple “hardened underground targets”, rather than the need for such a safe distance.(250km+)

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