Surface Forces: France Goes for the Scalp


January11, 2007: The French navy has ordered 250 Scalp cruise missiles, for $4.8 million each. The new Barracuda SSNs will get fifty of them, with the rest going to the new FREMM Frigates. The Scalp was first developed as an air launched missile. Britain uses the same missile, but calls it the Storm Shadow. The design was based on the older French Apache airfield-attack missile, and built largely to British specifications, and are stealthy. Each 17 foot long missile weighs 1.3 tons and uses inertial guidance, GPS and terrain following to find it's target once launched. With a range of 250 kilometers, it can carry a variety of 500 pound warheads. Terminal guidance can use infrared (heat) imaging for greater accuracy. The long range and high accuracy makes it an ideal weapon to taking out heavily defended targets. Development was rather quick, as it began in 1997 and the missile entered service in 2002. The French naval version will be delivered as the Barracudas and FREMM ships come into service over the next decade.


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