British defence minister Ben Wallace announced that the top-tier, air launched Storm Shadow cruise missiles lent to Ukraine were striking targets with precision as the country continued to fight off Russia’s full-scale invasion clocking nearly 500 days.
“The Storm Shadow missile has had a significant impact on the battlefield,” Mr Wallace said in a statement to the House of Commons on Monday this week, marking the first public acknowledgement of the missile’s use in the continuing war.
“Its accuracy and ability to deliver successfully the payload, as sent and designed by the Ukrainians, has been almost without fault,” the defence minister said.
“It has had an effect on the Russian army, mainly around its logistics and command and control. That shows the importance of deep fires,” he said.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive is evidently in its early stages with the country’s forces repulsing attacks using several western weapon systems to boost its defence operations to stand up against Russia.
In its arsenal of striking targets alongside top-tier rocket launcher systems sent from the West, including the HIMARS, are the British Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
Manufacturer MBDA has said that the missile, which is fired from an aircraft, carries a range exceeding 155 miles and is designed to evade detection despite flying low after being launched.
By contrast, the US-supplied Himars missiles currently used by Ukraine only have a range of around 50 miles.
The longer range means Ukrainian pilots will be able to remain further from the front lines.
But is still short of the 185-mile range of the US built Army Tactical Missile System, which Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s staff had reportedly asked for.
Powered by a turbo-jet engine, the 1,300kg Storm Shadow travels at speeds of more than 600mph, is just over five metres long and has a wingspan of three metres.
After launch, the weapon, equipped with its own navigation system, descends to a low altitude to avoid detection before locking on to its target using an infra-red seeker.
On final approach the missile climbs to a higher altitude to maximise the chances of hitting the target.
On impact, it penetrates the target before a delayed fuse detonates the main warhead.
Storm Shadow missiles have been used by British and French air forces in the Gulf, Iraq and Libya.
In May this year, the UK confirmed it will supply Ukraine with the long-range Storm Shadow missiles it requested for its fight against invading Russian forces.
Mr Wallace had touted that the weapons will give Ukraine the “best chance” of defending itself.
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