Scalp EG / Storm Shadow: Lessons from a successful cooperation




  • 1.1. The Genesis
  • 1.2. An ambitious military capability
  • 1.3. The competition


  • 2.1. Tectonic shifts in the industrial base
  • 2.2. Effective programme management
  • 2.3. Separate, national organisations in each country
  • 2.4. Incentives to control costs


  • 3.1. A product designed for export
  • 3.2. Maintaining genuine operational autonomy
  • 3.3. The art of converging requirements around the solution
  • 3.4. The challenge of controlling programme performance, cost and time
  • 3.5. Industrial consolidation: the cornerstone of the programme



In the early 2000s, the Scalp EGSystème de Croisière conventionnel Autonome à Longue Portée et d'Emploi Général (General Purpose Long-Range Standoff Cruise Missile)”. The term “general purpose” distinguishes it from the specifically anti-runway Apache. missile and its British counterpart, Storm Shadow, provided the United Kingdom and France with advanced and highly effective independent, deep strike weapons. These weapons put their respective air forces into the top tier of military operators, allowing them “Day One” entry into any theatre of operation, with capabilities equivalent to those of the United States.i.e. a cruise missile fired from a combat aircraft such as a Rafale or a Typhoon, the equivalent of an American F16 / JASSM‑ER combination.

A unique example of multi-lateral European cooperation, the Scalp EG / Storm Shadow programme achieved significant objectives for the two countries:

  • Achieving operational advantage in a field traditionally dominated by the US;
  • Delivering capabilities to time and to budget;The programme involved missile development as well as the integration of the missiles onto the different launch aircraft, although platform integration was not part of the original ITTs: they were contracted later and separately, with the aircraft requirements taking precedence. The French missile development programme remained within budget. The same appears to have been true on the British side for the missile development programme. It is more difficult, however, to determine whether the integration work remained in budget as this expenditure was spread across various aircraft capability increments over a long period of time. Also, not all of the planned integration work was completed on the British side due to the abandonment of the Harrier platform.
  • Developing and maintaining a strong, autonomous capability in complex weapons, allowing France and the UK to deliver a wide range of operational capabilities and boosting the export of European combat aircraft;
  • Promoting industrial and technological rationalisation, enabling skills to be maintained while allowing a world-class European missile champion to emerge.

As preparations are made to renew these capabilities, it is important to know whether or not this model can be re-used in future programmes, or whether it was merely the product of very specific circumstances that cannot be reproduced.


The full version of this publication is only available in PDF format.
To read this version, please download the file below.

Download (PDF)