Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has published a photo of a Ukrainian Su-24 armed with a UK-supplied “Storm Shadow” cruise missile, marking the first time they have been seen on an aircraft.
I was glad to host my great friend Ben Wallace, @BWallaceMP, in Kyiv.
We had a very meaningful discussion focused on priorities for increasing Ukraine’s defense capabilities, particularly providing long-range weapons such as Storm Shadow.
We also discussed prospects for… pic.twitter.com/kVEo8dtFMc
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) May 24, 2023
The photo emerged in a tweet Reznikov posted about meeting UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace, where the two “had a very meaningful discussion focused on priorities for increasing Ukraine’s defense capabilities, particularly providing long-range weapons such as Storm Shadow.”
#Ukraine: Remains of ?? UK-supplied Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles were found at today's and yesterday's missile strike sites in the city of #Luhansk– confirming this new and very potent capability is already used by Ukrainian forces. pic.twitter.com/LAn0nqJBZU
— ?? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) May 13, 2023
The deployment of Storm Shadows has been known, particularly during a series of strikes earlier this month carried out against Russian logistical and repair targets in Luhansk, as well as the Institute of Internal Affairs, which was being used to house Russian forces. Photos of missile debris from the strikes confirmed Storm Shadows were used. Likewise, US-supplied ADM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) missiles were also used in tandem to help penetrate anti-air defenses over the city.
This photo, whether leaked intentionally or not, is significant because it not only shows that Su-24s have been modified to carry and launch these missiles, but also that these aircraft have been outfitted with two hardpoints for Storm Shadow deployment. Up until this point, there was no visual confirmation as to how Storm Shadows were launched, although Su-24s were the prime suspect.
Storm Shadows are important for Ukraine due to their ability to strike targets far past the operational range of US-supplied HIMARS. Storm Shadows have a range of 300km, which allows for Ukrainian aircraft to strike targets anywhere within Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine, such as key transportation and logistical infrastructure. These missiles also have the capability of striking targets deep within Russia, however, it has been agreed upon that western-supplied weapons would not be used offensively against targets in Russian territory.