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First operational Storm Shadow firings by Typhoon

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First operational Storm Shadow firings by Typhoon

Old 17th Mar 2021, 21:04
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First operational Storm Shadow firings by Typhoon

Combat Debut for Typhoon/Storm Shadow Pairing

- March 17, 2021, 1:34 PM

Armed with two Storm Shadows, a Typhoon operates from RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, where the type is deployed for operations with 903 Expeditionary Air Wing. The weapon has previously been used in the fight against Daesh by the Tornado, and in its similar Scalp EG form by French Mirage 2000Ds and Rafales flying from Jordan. (Photo: Crown Copyright/PJHQ)Royal Air Force Typhoons have used the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile in action for the first time, with a pair of aircraft reportedly firing four weapons at cave complexes on March 10. The network of caves, southwest of Erbil, was being used by Daesh terrorist forces.

Once the cave complex had been identified by Iraqi forces as being used by a significant number of Daesh terrorists, two RAF Typhoon FGR.Mk 4s were tasked to conduct strikes in support of ground forces from the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS). The CTS conducted surveillance of the area before the attack to confirm that there were no civilians at risk, and the Typhoon pilots exercised “their utmost care in checking there were no signs of civilians in the area before conducting the strikes.” Following the Storm Shadow mission, surveillance revealed that the “weapons were confirmed to have struck their targets precisely.”

The mission was the first of several strikes against Daesh that week. On March 11, Typhoons conducted further attacks against two additional locations, using six Paveway IV [email protected]/GPS-guided bombs. On March 12, Typhoons struck another group of caves used by Daesh, using eight Paveway IV bombs, and two days later attacked Daesh-held caves in the same remote, mountainous area of northern Iraq, dropping six Paveway IVs.

The Royal Air Force has been conducting airstrikes under Operation Shader since Sept. 30, 2014, as part of a coalition effort to assist Iraqi Security Forces in their operations against Daesh (the so-called Islamic State). Eurofighter Typhoons augmented Panavia Tornados from December 2015, and then replaced the Tornado completely in February 2019 once the Brimstone and Storm Shadow had been integrated on Typhoon under the Centurion program. That milestone ensured that the type was able to employ the key air-to-ground weapons previously used by the Tornado.

Current operations are aimed at preventing Daesh from re-establishing its presence in the country. The caves near Erbil were assessed to be particularly difficult targets and the Storm Shadow missile was selected as the most appropriate weapon for the task.
see: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-n...shadow-pairing
And just in time for the IR!
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 08:36
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I ‘get it’...but doing ones utmost to ensure there are no civilians in the area whilst employing Air Launched Cruise Missiles from (I assume) medium altitude - seems both the right thing to do and of dubious efficacy. Not to mention the small mismatch between the range at which one conducts a single seat CDE (Litening pod or not) and the intended launch range of the weapon. I assume the baddies stayed put whilst the ‘go in stooge around, CDE, flow outbound, employ, weapon ToF’ process was playing out?

BZ the team though. Any ounce of pain brought down on that bunch gets my backing. Pave way 3 next time?
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 08:48
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Paveway 3 went out of service with Tornado. I'd have preferred the CDE scan have been carried out by a separate aircraft to reduce the time interval; RPAS much more suited to that task anyway.
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 13:59
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Ah you can’t beat random guesswork and statements made with no regard for the article quoted...

Clue:

Look at the picture, read the words.

You might spot a lack of a targeting pod on the Typhoon and the use of the word checked not looked.

For a bonus point who does the article say conducted the surveillance of the target pre-strike.
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 14:14
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There’s a difference between ‘no regard to the article’ (your words) and ‘reasonable inferences from the article’.

Equally there’s a difference between ‘random guesses’ and ‘musings of someone who did something similar in a previous life’ on an open Internet forum.

The picture only contains one Typhoon and my random guess with no regard to the article is that it didn’t go alone. I think we used to call them ‘formations’.

Thank you for the Paveway nibble.
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 17:15
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Ok boomer...
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 21:05
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Interesting to glimpse what looks like an AMRAAM on port fwd station, but none on stbd.
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 21:45
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Originally Posted by 57mm View Post
Interesting to glimpse what looks like an AMRAAM on port fwd station, but none on stbd.
More than a glimpse. Screenshot from a PJHQ video

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Old 18th Mar 2021, 21:50
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If you don't need many missiles (ie for more of a potential self-defence measure) then leaving the front right station empty is preferable for missile vib/carriage reasons. Got to keep the beancounters / taxpayers happy.
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Old 18th Mar 2021, 23:17
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At least three Typhoons (ZK344, ZK353 and ZK364) were loaded with a pair of Storm Shadows on 9 March. They carried the missiles underwing, preventing the carriage of the by now almost ubiquitous underwing fuel tanks. Instead they were fitted with a centreline fuel tank, with outboard Block 4 ASRAAMs and a single AIM-120C (C5? C7?) in the forward port missile recess. These three aircraft all taxied out for the mission on 10 March, one (ZK353) perhaps acting as an air spare. A fourth aircraft may have been involved, perhaps equipped with a Litening targeting pod to provide ISR cover. This would have given the Typhoon formation an organic ability to conduct a CDE (Collateral Damage Estimation) scan, though this would not have been necessary, as ground forces were able to conduct surveillance, and other airborne assets would have been available, perhaps including RAF Reaper Unmanned Air Systems. Official photos and videos indicate that ZK344 and the sole Tranche 3 aircraft involved, ZK364, returned to Akrotiri without their Storm Shadows.


364

344

353

344

364

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Old 19th Mar 2021, 10:36
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Out of interest, why were they not carrying Meteor, rather than AMRAAM?
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Old 19th Mar 2021, 13:08
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Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
If you don't need many missiles (ie for more of a potential self-defence measure) then leaving the front right station empty is preferable for missile vib/carriage reasons. Got to keep the beancounters / taxpayers happy.
Also, not able to carry underwing tanks with Storm Shadow, so I imagine you'll want to keep weight/drag at a minimum.
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Old 19th Mar 2021, 16:31
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Originally Posted by 57mm View Post
Out of interest, why were they not carrying Meteor, rather than AMRAAM?
Why waste the carriage hours?
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Old 19th Mar 2021, 18:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57mm View Post
Out of interest, why were they not carrying Meteor, rather than AMRAAM?
Why waste the carriage hours?

Though they are/have been carried on Baltic Air Policing...


Would carriage hours be a factor when deciding which weapons fit to carry in an active war zone?

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Old 19th Mar 2021, 18:45
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Of course - you don't usually carry them at all for for non-operational sorties. Careful husbandry of missile stocks also helps to ensure you have the right weapon available for when you really need it.

We used to have aircraft that tortured AMRAAMs beyond the ability for the manufacturer to model or test. After a number of sorties they went to a different aircraft type for a more relaxed and lengthy service life.
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Old 19th Mar 2021, 19:02
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Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
Of course - you don't usually carry them at all for for non-operational sorties. Careful husbandry of missile stocks also helps to ensure you have the right weapon available for when you really need it.

We used to have aircraft that tortured AMRAAMs beyond the ability for the manufacturer to model or test. After a number of sorties they went to a different aircraft type for a more relaxed and lengthy service life.
I would suggest that sorties flown on Shader come under the banner of 'operational', which brings me back to my question - for an operational sortie in an active combat zone, would preserving hours of a brand new missile type be a consideration for not carrying it? If it is, how come Meteor is carried on Baltic ops?
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Old 19th Mar 2021, 20:35
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Good to see proper weapon integration - finally.......

Perhaps 20 years too late - but better late than never.......
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 01:23
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Originally Posted by Mil-26Man View Post
I would suggest that sorties flown on Shader come under the banner of 'operational', which brings me back to my question - for an operational sortie in an active combat zone, would preserving hours of a brand new missile type be a consideration for not carrying it? If it is, how come Meteor is carried on Baltic ops?
It isn't routinely carried on Baltic ops, nor on QRA, though it has been. I would imagine that stocks are being carefully conserved.
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 13:16
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Originally Posted by Mil-26Man View Post
I would suggest that sorties flown on Shader come under the banner of 'operational', which brings me back to my question - for an operational sortie in an active combat zone, would preserving hours of a brand new missile type be a consideration for not carrying it? If it is, how come Meteor is carried on Baltic ops?
Not sure you read the first answer. The point being that you only get the opportunity to manage via/carriage life on ops as otherwise they are (typically) not fitted to the aircraft at all.

Nobody mentioned 'preserving' either - 'managing' is probably the most suitable term as there are many factors at play. It is usually desirable to deliberately run a select few new missiles hard to provide data on vib/carriage/cycles/loadings to validate or inform modelling and rig tests. When moving from one type of missile to another you also want to 'blend' from one type to the other to make sure new productions runs and out-of-life / war-shot only missiles don't have any cliff-edges in either the stock holdings or the funding & manufacturing profiles.

Again, this is all about getting the best bang for your buck, especially when the actual number of operational air-to-air missile shots taken by Typhoon = zero. Things are very different if you are firing op missiles as fast or considerably faster than the manufacturer can make replacements (eg Tornado GR4 with Brimstone).
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