Is the SCALP missile better than the BrahMos missile?
The SCALP (called the Storm Shadow by most users) is a Western European subsonic, air-launched, and somewhat stealthy missile designed to hit ground targets like bunkers, runways, and command and control sites. It flies at low altitude and uses inertial, GPS, and TERCOM guidance. It’s a purely conventional – meaning non-nuclear – weapon with a 450 kg warhead.
The missile is intended to strike high-valued stationary assets such as airbases, radar installations, communications hubs and port facilities. The Storm Shadow is capable of engaging the targets precisely in any weather conditions during day and night. The long range and low attitude combined with subsonic speed make the Storm Shadow a stealthy missile.
The BrahMos is a Russian-Indian supersonic missile launched from multiple platforms – ships, land, aircraft. It flies at close to Mach 3, and can go high or low. It’s both an anti-ship missile and general land attack missile (the SCALP is designed for ground targets only, with the French recently trying to adapt it to an anti-ship role).
And in comparison, the Brahmos missile is the only Supersonic cruise missile in the world that can be launched from any of the platform, air, water and land. It can be used against fixed or moving targets of any kind.
In terms of size, the Brahmos missile is much larger than the scalp missile in terms of dimensions. The mass of air launch version of Brahmos Missile is 2500 kg and the other one is 3000 kg. While the mass of the Scalp missile is only 1300 kg. But the Scalp can carry more warheads than Brahmos as it has the capacity to carry warheads up to 450 kg. While the Brahmos missile can carry both conventional warhead up to 200 kg and nuclear warhead up to 300 kg. While the scalp does not have the capacity to carry the nuclear warhead.
Talking about the range, Both missiles have similar publicly-stated ranges of roughly 450 – 600 km, but their actual ranges might be different, and classified. This range can also be upgrade to 600 km. Work is also underway for brahmos to increase range of more than 800 km in near future.
Also, want to tell you, the range of any missile which is declared in public is not its actual range. also In this case, the mentioned range of scalp and Brahmos missile is that range which is announced publicly by the Officials. Rather, their actual range can be quite different, which is kept classified.
Guidance system plays a very important role in the cruise missile’s accuracy. If we talk about Scalp, it uses the same guidance system which is used by the Tom Hawk Missile. As it uses guidance systems like Inertial, GPS and TERPROM which also uses features like terrain matching. while Brahmos missile has a different type of Guidance System which is Terminal Active Radar Homing system.
The BrahMos reportedly also has an innovative multi-GPS guidance system that uses the canonical American GPS system, Russian GLONASS, and India’s regional sat nav system in combination. This is common in smartphones these days (usually GPS + GLONASS + Galileo or BeiDou), but I guess it’s new for missiles. Tapping into multiple sat nav systems increases location accuracy, and therefore guidance accuracy.
One of the special features of Scalp Missile is that it is a low observable air launch cruise missile, which means that it has used stealth technology, due to which it is quite difficult to detect. While the use of such technology has never been revealed in Brahmos Missile, but since Brahmos is a Supersonic cruise missile, it is not easy to intercept it.
Soon Indian Rafale will deploy the in-development BrahMos NG missile in either a twin or single weapon load-out when the system is ready from 2021. The MBDA Scalp and BrahMos will provide planners with unique subsonic/supersonic stand-off attack options available to no other air force in the world. The Rafale deal also includes assurances for coding extensions to other in-development Indian weapon systems, including the Astra BVRAAM.
Image Credits:- Defence Squad