Saudi Tornado Aircraft to Get Storm Shadow Cruise Missile


Saudi Arabia will acquire the air-to-ground Storm Shadow cruise missile from European firm MBDA as part of a Tornado strike aircraft update package.

The missile will be fitted on the Royal Saudi Air Force's (RSAF) fleet of Tornado aircraft, to increase the aircraft's combat capability, according to defensenews.com.

The conventionally armed, stealthy, long-range stand-off precision weapon has been designed to neutralise high value targets while avoiding collateral damage.

The all-weather missile system is capable of conducting pre-planned attacks on static targets.

Combined with the missile's range, the fire and forget capability allows the launch aircraft to maintain a safe distance from enemy air defences.

Powered by a turbo-jet engine, the Storm Shadow missile has a range over 250km, weighs nearly 1,300kg and is just over 5m long.

In 2009, MBDA agreed on the update package to support the RSAF's Tornado aircraft, while delivering the first eight of 72 Typhoons purchased by Saudi Arabia.

Although MBDA refused to disclose the amount of the contract, an entry in BAE's preliminary results for 2009, indicates incremental orders totalling $1.9bn (£1.2bn) were received in the period for the Tornado sustainment programme weapons contract.