In a move aimed at bolstering the capabilities of Ukrainian forces ahead of a potential counter-offensive, the United Kingdom has provided Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range missiles.
The transfer of these missiles was confirmed to CNN by multiple unnamed Western officials. The provision of these missiles is a significant development for Ukraine, which continued to request long-range weapons from its international partners.
The Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG cruise missile is a British-French weapon developed in the 1990s by Matra and British Aerospace and is now manufactured by the European missile maker MBDA.
In its air-launched version, it is traditionally carried by the Dassault Mirage 2000 and Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Panavia Tornado. A version intended for the French Navy also exists.
It remains to be seen which platform operated by the Ukrainian armed forces will be used to fire the weapon. The Ukrainian Air Force has previously adapted US-made AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles to be used by its MiG-29 fighter jets.
Although the Storm Shadow missile is capable of striking targets at a radius of 560 kilometers (350 miles), the export models have been specifically modified to operate at a reduced range of 250 kilometers (155 miles).
This modification is in line with assurances provided by Ukrainian officials, who have stated that the missiles will not be used to target deep into Russian territory. Instead, they will be deployed solely within the borders of Ukraine’s sovereign territory