These missiles are some of the most sophisticated air-launch weapons in the world and were used over Syria in the recent 14th April air strikes.
RAF Tornado jets were deployed early morning on 14th April to bomb a Syrian chemical weapons factory in what has been hailed as a “highly successful mission”.
What are Storm Shadow missiles?
The Storm Shadow is a long range air to surface cruise missile built by MBDA and have a range of approximately 560 km. The Storm Shadow can be fired from the Tornado GR4 which was used in the 14th April air strikes on Syria by the RAF as well as the French Dassault Rafale, Italian Tornado IDS, Saab Gripen and Dassault Mirage 2000.
The Storm Shadow missile is one of the most sophisticated ‘air launch’ weapons in the world, weighing in at 1300kg with a warhead weighing 450 kg. The missile is is intended for airfields, ports, power stations, ammunition storage, surface ships, bridges and other high value targets.
The missile is programmed before launch for its intended target and cant be controlled after its been fired. Once fired, the missile follows a path semi-autonomously, on a low flight path guided by GPS and terrain mapping to its target. Close to the target, the missile climbs and then bunts into a dive. Climbing to altitude is intended to achieve the best probability of target identification and penetration. During the bunt, the nose cone is jettisoned to allow a high resolution thermographic camera(Infrared homming) to observe the target area. The missile then tries to locate its target based upon its targeting information (DSMAC). If it can not, and there is a high risk of collateral damage, it will fly to a crash point instead of risking inaccuracy.
Storm Shadow missiles were used to take out the chemical weapons factory base, which is 15 miles west of Homs in the early hours of April14.
The deadly precision missiles were chosen because they could “maximise destruction”.
The factory is a former missile base and is believed to be where the Syrian regime keeps “chemical weapons precursors”.