The first deployment of the Storm Shadow cruise missile by the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet has apparently ended with a failure.
On March 10, two Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 jets operating out of Akrotiri Air Base in Cyprus launched several Storm Shadow cruise missiles at a cave complex to the southwest of the city of Erbil in northern Iraq, where a significant number of ISIS fighters were hiding.
— Joseph Dempsey (@JosephHDempsey) March 16, 2021
The strike, which marked the first ever combat use of the Storm Shadow missile by the Typhoon, was widely reported as a complete success.
Nevertheless, Iraqi sources shared on March 23 photos showing the remains of a Storm Shadow missiles that crashed in the subdistrict of Qayara near the western city of Mosul.
The missile failed and crashed dozens of kilometers away from its designated target near Erbil. The UK Ministry of Defence did not report the failure.
The Storm Shadow cruise missile, manufactured by arms giant MBDA, has a range of up to 560 km and is equipped with a sophisticated guidance system.
A variant of the missile known as SCALP EG [Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général, meaning General Purpose Long Range Cruise Missile] is in active service with the French Air Force. Another sea-launched variant known as MdCN [Missile de Croisière Naval, meaning Naval Cruise Missile] is in service with the French Navy.
While this was the first combat use of the Storm Shadow by the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet, it was not the missile’s first failure.
During the 2018 missile strikes against Syria by the US, UK and France, the missile performance was nothing short from catastrophic. Russia revealed that all eight Storm Shadows launched by British Tornado fighter jets were intercepted. Furthermore, the French Navy failed to launch a number of MdCN missiles.
The repeated failure of the Storm Shadow may be an indication of serious flaws in the missile’s design or mistakes in the manufacturing process.
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