France to deliver refurbished SCALP missiles to Ukraine

In January, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France was going to supply additional SCALP missiles (the French name for the Storm Shadow missile) to Ukraine.

Prioritizing the supply of SCALP-EG long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine, France remains mindful to maintain its strategic stockpile, with Macron announcing the delivery of 40 such missiles back in January, marking the second shipment of these French-British munitions. The logistics operation for the delivery has been dubbed Chrysalide, a term that translates as "chrysalis," perhaps indicative of how these cruise missiles are stored—packed within waterproof containers akin to protective cocoons.

The news outlet RFI reports that France has two types of SCALP cruise missile reserves. Some are fit for use but are nearing their storage life expiry, while others are obsolete due to cannibalization of parts. Many of these missiles are housed at the plant of defense manufacturer MBDA in Bourges, where SCALP production has been based since the 2000s.

The outlet's sources reveal plans to hand over missiles destined for disposal to Ukraine. However, before shipment, these munitions were fully restored and tested. The economic efficiency of this operation was highlighted as the restoration and testing costs totaled about a quarter of the price of a new missile. Currently, a single Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG missile is priced at around 2 million pounds. The missile restoration process was funded through a special French budget, leading France to refurbish missiles it had earmarked for decommission and provide them to Ukraine.

The news outlet also notes the existence of an export variant of the SCALP missile, which has a limited range compared to the standard version. Modifications at the manufacturing plant are likely necessary before shipment to Ukraine to adjust the guidance system.

SCALP-EG missiles rely on GPS, inertial, and visual guidance systems for targeting. Additionally, these munitions possess the capability of deploying "heat traps" to deceive ground-based air defense systems, enabling them to penetrate deep within enemy defenses. The munition's 450 kg warhead detonates within the target using a specialized charge.

The United Kingdom, too, supplies its own version of the Storm Shadow missile to Ukraine. While the strike range has not been disclosed, the common carrier for both missile variants is the Su-24 bomber.

  War in Ukraine, France, SCALP