Have British Storm Shadows Proved Effective on Ukraine Battlefield?

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storm shadow long-range cruise missile, ukraine su-24 carries storm shadows, storm shadow attack civilian infrastructure, storm shadow 155 mile striking range, storm shadow chongar bridge, ukraine counteroffensive, ukraine attack crimea, russian defense minister sergey shoigu

storm shadow long-range cruise missile, ukraine su-24 carries storm shadows, storm shadow attack civilian infrastructure, storm shadow 155 mile striking range, storm shadow chongar bridge, ukraine counteroffensive, ukraine attack crimea, russian defense minister sergey shoigu

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace asserted to British lawmakers that Storm Shadow missiles given to Kiev have had “a significant impact” on the battlefield in Ukraine. Is Wallace’s optimism justified?

“I think that the British minister of defense is somewhat embellishing the situation,” Dmitry Kornev, military expert, founder of the Military Russia portal, told Sputnik, suggesting that Wallace’s announcement resembled a PR stunt.

“Within the framework of a special military operation, missiles and the capabilities of Storm Shadow, which are used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, so far have not played any role at all (…) Yes, they strike at some point objects. Yes, sometimes they hit them; sometimes these missiles are shot down,” he said.

What Are Storm Shadows Capable of?

In May, the British government announced that it had delivered multiple Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine ahead of the Kiev regime’s counteroffensive.

The Storm Shadow is a weapon typically launched from the air, boasting a striking range in excess of 250 kilometers (155 miles). The missile’s weight is about 1,300 kilograms which includes a conventional warhead of 450 kilograms. Its diameter amounts to 48 centimeters; the rocket’s wingspan is three meters. The wonder weapon price tag is approximately $3.19 million per unit.

The weapon was used in the 2003 War in Iraq, where the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron extensively tested them on the battlefield. These missiles were also used during NATO’s invasion of Libya in 2011. All in all, the UK government has a stockpile of an estimated 700-1,000 Storm Shadows.

How Are Storm Shadows Carried

It was earlier reported that the British missiles would be carried by the Ukrainian Air Force Su-24 Fencer. Pictures released by the Ukrainian media showed a Su-24 with a Storm Shadow placed under the fixed-wing “glove” pylon.

In the past, The Drive suggested that Storm Shadows would be carried by Ukraine’s Su-24 with the Su-27 Flanker jet also being a likely candidate as Storm Shadow shooter. At the same time, the media outlet wondered as to how many Su-24s have been left in Ukraine. It quoted intelligence indicating that Ukraine has lost at least 17 Su-24s. It was later reported that Ukraine’s Su-24 combat version and Su-24MR reconnaissance plane have been modified to fire the British stealthy long-range missile.

Defensive or Offensive?

In May, Wallace announced that the weapon would become Ukraine’s “best chance to defend themselves.”

However, earlier this month Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu pointed out that Kiev would not use these missiles for “defensive” purposes:

“According to our information, the leadership of the armed forces of Ukraine plans to strike at the territory of Russia, including Crimea, with HIMARS and Storm Shadow missiles,” the minister said at a meeting of the collegium of the Ministry of Defense.”

Shoigu warned that the use of Storm Shadow and HIMARS outside the zone of the special military operation would mean the full involvement of the United States and the United Kingdom in the conflict.

On June 22, the Ukrainian Armed Forces carried out a strike on bridges on the administrative border between the Kherson region and Crimea. As the result of the missile attack the roadway on the Chongar Bridge was damaged, but no casualties were reported by local authorities. Judging from markings on the wreckage of the missile, the strike was presumably carried out British-donated Storm Shadows.

“Apparently, several missiles were used there, and some of them probably hit [the bridge],” said Kornev. “That is, yes, a very successful illustration of the capabilities of these missiles. But how much could this hurt logistics in general? Probably, it is this case that the British Minister of Defense uses (…) But firstly, this is only one of several arteries that connect Crimea with the continental part. Secondly, the damage that was done there, but they didn’t destroy the bridge. Thirdly, besides this logistical artery, there are still many routes along the continental part, where, to be honest, Storm Shadow did not play any role at all.”

Is Storm Shadow a Game Changer for Counteroffensive?

The Russian military expert has drawn attention to the fact that Storm Shadows are now shot down “quite regularly.” Furthermore, following the Ukrainian military strike on the bridge, the Russian armed forces destroyed a depot with Storm Shadow cruise missiles in Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi region, as per the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Still, the most vivid indicator that Storm Shadow cruise missiles have not become a game change is that they failed to facilitate Ukraine’s much-discussed counteroffensive, according to Kornev.

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the start of a counteroffensive,” said the military analyst. “As part of this counteroffensive, there was some preliminary bombardment, including with Storm Shadow missiles. And there are no results. Accordingly, we can say that either the missiles are not as effective as expected, or the organization of their use is not sufficiently developed, or in general, everything related to the counteroffensive operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is still stalling and does not give any serious results.”





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