The first operational use of Storm Shadow is unlikely to harm the sales prospects of both it and its near-identical twin about to enter French service, Scalp EG. The only differences are in the peripherals around the missile, such as its preparation systems and adaptation sub-assemblies to UK and French aircraft.

So far, manufacturer MBDA has orders for 2,200 of the missiles from the UK, France, Italy, Greece and the United Arab Emirates, where it is known as Black Shaheen. The first of these were delivered to the UAE in April but are not yet operational. There have been recent reports of interest in the system from Spain, but there are obviously limited markets for such a sophisticated, long-range weapon.

The biggest coup would be to land an order from the US, as the missile fills a gap in the superpower's inventory as a stealthy, long-range, precision weapon whose accuracy and Broach warhead can minimise the dreaded 'collateral damage'. While MBDA has not been asked to submit a proposal, there are understood to have been high-level US government discussions on the missile's capabilities.

Scalp EG completed its qualification trials at the Landes test centre in Cazaux, south-west France, in April and will enter service on the Mirage 2000D before the end of the year. Its next platform will be the naval Rafale M.

Source: Flight Daily News