France has started to fund development of a ship- and submarine-launched version of the Scalp EG/Storm Shadow long-range stand-off precision weapon. MBDA has been given a contract worth around €30.5 million ($26.6 million) for a 30-month project definition and risk reduction (PDRR) programme.

MBDA will take components from the 250km-plus- (135nm) range Scalp EG/Storm Shadow, and integrate them into a new airframe that can be fired from the NATO-standard 535mm (21in)torpedo tubes of the French navy's forthcoming Barracuda boats. The company intends to use the same mechanism for the vertical launch system on the navy's FNM next generation frigates.

Scalp Navale presentations have also been made to the Italian navy and the UK Royal Navy - the former has a long-established interest in a naval Storm Shadow while the RN will require a weapon for its future warships. Sources in Paris say UK defence secretary Geoff Hoon was briefed on the programme during a recent visit to his French counterpart Alain Richard.

APDRR aim is to evaluate technical risks associated with using the missile from vertical launchers and torpedo tubes. MBDA has been considering a common booster able to push the missile from vertical to horizontal flight after shipboard firing, and propel the weapon through water and up to flight altitudes for submarine firing.

The missile's aerodynamics will also be reviewed. The air-launched airframe has a faceted shape, whereas a naval weapon is likely to have a circular cross-section.



Source: Flight International