Tim Ripley

European missile manufacturer Matra BAe Dynamics is looking at launching a rival to the US Tomahawk land attack cruise missile.

The company revealed at the show yesterday that it has received French government funding to look at modifying the Apache/Storm Shadow/Scalp-EG family of precision guided weapons to be fired from ground, shipborne or submarine platforms.

France, the United Arab Emirates and the UK have all signed contracts to buy more than 1,400 air-launched versions of the 250km range weapon and Italy is committed to buying it.

"We have been government funding to study derivatives of our missile," says Francois Bobo, the company's chief engineer for future programmes. "We will basically retain all the main systems, such as mission planning and avionics sub-systems, but we are looking at changing the shape and length of the missile to fit in launch tubes."

Graham Banks-Popple, the company's UK programme manager for the Storm Shadow, says the Storm Shadow/Scalp-EG is a state-of-the-art, high-performance stand-off weapon. "The programme is on time and low risk. The basic Apache airframe had been proven in 13 successful flight tests."

The Storm Shadow/Scalp-EG is designed for precision attack against high-value static or stationary targets and will be employed from by Tornado GR4, Harrier GR7, Eurofighter, Rafale and Mirage 2000 combat aircraft.

The company is already looking at upgrades to the missile, including employing the Galileo satellite navigation system as a substitute for the US GPS.

Source: Flight Daily News