The Naval vertically launched derivative of the
MBDA SCALP EG/Storm Shadow Conventionally Armed Stand-Off Missiles (CASOM)
is scheduled to enter production in 2006 and scheduled to enter
service in 2011, to provide the French Marine Nationale (Navy) FREMM
Guided Missile armed Frigates (FFG) and Barracuda Class Nuclear
powered attack submarines (SSN) a formidable stand-off land attack
capability including strategic counterforce punch.
To be launched from Sylver A-70 vertical launcher
the MBDA turbojet powered 1,500-kg and 1,000-km+ ranged SCALP/Storm
Shadow CASOM pack qualifies as a mini-cruise missile, capable of
successful counterforce operations against enemy high value
conventional and nuclear infrastructure by conventional strikes
alone, yet stays clear from anticipated heavy enemy ground-based
defences. Designed to cruise at low-levels to avoid radar detection,
it has inertial guidance and navigation followed by TERrain PROfile
Matching (TERPROM) navigation with an integrated GPS in the terminal
target approach phase of flight.
During terminal phase in combination with passive
Imaging Infra Red (IIR) sensors with Autonomous Target Recognition (ATR)
system, the missile retains considerable autonomous operations
capability over long ranges, while its effective Bomb Royal Ordnance
Augmented Charge (BROACH) unitary penetration warhead is programmed
to inflict maximum damage on impact even on buried and hardened
Recent enhancement programmes of the SCALP EG
include the capability to relay target information just before
impact, utilization of link-back data-link to relay back battle
damage assessment and option for in-flight retargeting capability,
utilizing a two-way data-link. In the naval context, these
attributes usually associated with launch from airborne platforms,
will require the presence of Long Range Maritime Patrol (LRMP) or
Over the Horizon Targeting (OHT) platforms.
In the Indian Navy the Scalp EG will provide an
invaluable strategic punch to its projected Scorpene submarine
fleet, endowing it with a formidable counterforce punch, very much
relevant in littoral operations, provided the missile can be
launched in encapsulated form from the standard 21-in torpedo tubes.
Indeed sale or transfer of technology of Scalp EG
CASOM will create problems in context to Missile Technology Control
Regime (MTCR) restrictions, yet the close and mutual trustworthy
nature of Indo-French cooperation in the strategic arena may create
“wonders”, just like the IAF’s customised Mirage 2000H/TH fleet.