Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 Aircraft from 617 Squadron with Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles
A Tornado GR4 aircraft with 617 Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth is pictured fitted with the Storm Shadow cruise missile, directly under the fuselage.
This long-range air-launched and conventionally-armed missile equips RAF Tornado GR4 squadrons and saw operational service in 2003 with 617 Squadron during combat in Iraq, prior to entering full service in 2004. Post deployment analysis demonstrated the missile's exceptional accuracy, and the effect on targets was described as devastating. Based on this performance, it is arguably the most advanced weapon of its kind in the world.
Feasibility studies on a possible UK requirement for a Long Range Stand- Off Missile were originally commissioned in 1982, and work was eventually subsumed in 1986 into the NATO seven-nation Modular Stand- Off Weapon programme. This project was however aborted, and the UK subsequently withdrew. With the end of the Cold War the UK’s continued need for a stand-off requirement was reviewed and endorsed as part of the ‘Options for Change’ exercise. An international competition was launched in 1994 to meet the UK’s Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM) requirement, and seven companies responded.Photographer: RAF/MoD
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