Jeffrey LewisMore Saudi/Storm Shadow/MTCR

We have a pretty impressive discussion thread going on the issue of the UK sale of the Storm Shadow LACM to Saudi Arabia.  If you read the original post, you should also take a look at the comments.  We’ve got some real talent kicking this thing around.

After the jump, some of the stuff I found most interesting.

– We have been discussing the range of Storm Shadow/SCALP EG, as well as the Black Shaheen export variant.

MBDA says only that the range of Storm Shadow/SCALP EG  “exceeds” 250 km.  I think it is significantly more than that.  PW found a French Senate document that states “le SCALP/EG est un missile air-sol largué à distance de sécurité (400 km maximum) …” 400 km is still short of the 480 km assessment of the US National Air and Space Intelligence Center, but the issue seems largely settled that Storm Shadow/SCALP is a Category 1 MTCR system.

NASIC, as well, as press reports, suggest MBDA reduced the fuel load for the Black Shaheen, but that it also remains a Category 1 system.  That is still, I believe, a contested point.

– Francois Heisbourg let us know he came up with the name SCALP, not as a reference to APACHE but rather to the US Tomahawk. “I figured that the Americans may have the battleax,” he explained, “but that we were going to get the prize.” That’s awesome.

– I’ve acquired a February 2008 letter sent by the then-Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees to then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice about the UK’s sale of Typhoon aircraft to Saudi Arabia.

The letter requests a “specific assurance that the Executive branch will consult with our Committees before any approval of a request to sell Saudi Arabia such sensitive weapon systems as Storm Shadow cruise missiles…”

There are interesting issues of timing here — did the Bush Administration approve the sale?  Did the UK proceed over US objections?  When did Saudi Arabia sign the contract in 2009?  Has MBDA made any deliveries?

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