Egyptian Air Force confirmed to be operating SCALP cruise missiles


The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) has acquired a number of MBDA SCALP cruise missiles from France, in spite of earlier issues over their importation due to American pressure.

On 2 February a SCALP was seen in a video of a joint exercise with the French Air Force. The weapon was seen alongside a Rafale fighter fitted with a Talios targeting system. A photo from October 2020 appeared to show a SCALP alongside an Egyptian Rafale.

According to Janes, the hangar appeared to be at Gebel el-Basur Air Base, which is the home of the Egyptian Rafales and was used by the French Rafales and Mirage 2000s that took part in the exercise.

Egypt was hoping to acquire SCALP missiles with its order for 24 Rafale fighters in 2015 but apparently the United States wanted to block the sale since the missiles contain American components.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers database, Egypt ordered 50 SCALP weapons for its Rafales in 2015.

In 2018 it was reported that France was looking for a way around the United States’ blocking of the SCALP sale and was exploring the possibility of replacing American components with alternatives as it pursued a follow-up order for 12 Rafales.

According to manufacturer MBDA, the Storm Shadow cruise missile (SCALP in French service) is an air-launched long range, conventionally armed, deep strike weapon, designed for pre-planned attacks against high value fixed or stationary targets.

Storm Shadow/SCALP has been put into operation with the Royal Air Force and the French Air Force in 2003 and was used in the Gulf, Iraq, Syria and Libya. The weapon has also been acquired by Saudi Arabia, Greece, Italy and the United Arab Emirates. Storm Shadow/SCALP is operated from Tornado, Rafale, Mirage 2000 and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The weapon weights 1 300 kg, is 5.10 metres long and has a range of more than 250 km. Powered by a small jet engine, the missile has a top speed of 800 km/h.