Five ironclad arguments why Storm Shadow missiles are better than ATACMS

6 April, 11:40 AM
Franco-British Storm Shadow cruise missile (Photo:Jerry Gunner via Flickr)

Franco-British Storm Shadow cruise missile (Photo:Jerry Gunner via Flickr)

Ukrainian and foreign military experts alike have long called on the United States to provide Ukraine with long-range fires – specifically the U.S. ATACAMS tactical rocket system, which has an official range of 300 kilometers, allowing it to punch into the depths of Russian defenses.

However, there is no sign these rockets are forthcoming anytime soon.

But there are alternatives, editor-in-chief of Defense Express Oleh Katkov told NV on April 5.

One of them is Storm Shadow – a British-made cruise missile Katkov says will provide more operational mobility and accuracy even than the U.S. ATACMS, which is compatible with the HIMARS capability Ukraine already possesses.

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NV asked Oleh Katkov, editor-in-chief of Defense Express, to explain how Storm Shadow compares to the famous ATACMS.


"It is 560 kilometers, but if there is an export version, it will be up to 300 kilometers, just like ATACMS. The international agreements on the non-transfer of missile weapons with a range of more than 300 kilometers were already trashed by the Russian Federation when it transferred the Iskander tactical missile system to Belarus. And it was the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus that reported that their range was 500 kilometers. Moreover, it wasn’t only ballistic missiles with a declared range of 500 kilometers (that Russia transferred), but also the R-500 ground-launched cruise missile. According to various sources, its range is already 1,500-2,500 kilometers.

That is, this international agreement has already been violated by the Russian Federation, and this, in my opinion, opens up the possibility of Ukraine receiving long-range missile weapons with a range of more than 300 k kilometers m from its allies, and in this case, that means Storm Shadow."


"The warhead of the Storm Shadow cruise missile is twice as large as that of the ATACMS," Katkov says. “According to the technical specifications, the U.S. missile has 227 kilograms of explosives, while the British missile has 460 kilograms. This means that the strike on enemy positions will be more powerful."


"A cruise missile is a much more mobile measure of destruction on enemy territory because it is designed for aircraft. One aircraft can work in one day in the east, north, and south. And this will be the standard situation. The (ground-based) ATACMS missile system will not be able to do this physically."


"Storm Shadow uses a full range of navigation tools: satellite, inertial, and DSMAC, which is when the missile surveys the surface below it and analyzes it with a ready-made display. And finally, the final section is equipped with a thermal imaging homing head that finds the targets that have been stored in its memory. The integration of this missile is easier because all the data about the target is laid down on the ground, similar to JDAM-ER or HARM. Only in theory can it actually be integrated under the wing of Soviet vehicles — in the fall, there were rumors that such workwas underway. That is, this missile can be launched outside the areas of operation of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems and outside the range of its fighter aircraft."


"Unfortunately, there is no information about the number of units (available). But this missile is in mass production. It is produced and is in service not only in the United Kingdom, but also in France and many other countries. That is, the probability of receiving ATACMS is close to zero, and Storm Shadow is probably higher."

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