France employed its SCALP (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée) long-range cruise missile against the Islamic State for the first time on 15 December, the French Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.

An undisclosed number of missiles were launched against targets near the Iraq/Syria border by a strike package of 10 French Air Force Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000 combat aircraft. According to the MoD, the targets comprised buildings (some hardened) that were serving as headquarters, a training centre, and a logistics depot in the Iraqi region of Al Qaim. Unidentified ‘bombs’, likely to be Sagem AASM ‘Hammer’, GBU-12 Paveway II, and/or GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II precision-guided munitions (PGMs), were also dropped in the strike.

The SCALP missile, essentially a French version of the UK Storm Shadow, is in its current extended range EG (Emploi Général) configuration guided by GPS, INS, and imaging infrared (IIR). It has a range of 351 n miles (650 km), a cruise speed of between Mach 0.7 and 0.95 and, in common with the Storm Shadow, is fitted with a BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented CHarge) high explosive penetration warhead. […]