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As this site has illustrated, the Storm Shadow is a sophisticated yet cost-effective solution to the requirements specified in the AIAA Request for Proposal. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the strengths of this design is to compare it to several current aircraft that perform similar missions.

Storm Shadow vs. the Competiton

Specification F-16 A-6 F-22 Joint Strike Fighter F-117 Storm Shadow
Mission Tactical Fighter Ground Attack Air Superiority Tactical Fighter Ground Attack Ground Attack
Takeoff Weight [lb] 37,500 58,000 60,000 ~50,000 52,500 5,190
Payload [lb] 17,000 18,000 8,000 ~15,000 5,000 1,000
Combat Radius [NM] 270 470 1,000 ~700 570 800
Length [ft] 49.33 54.75 62.08 ~50.00 65.92 20.00
Wingspan [ft] 31.00 53.00 44.50 ~40.00 43.25 18.50
Cost (millions $) 20+ 22 100 ~35 45 5.25

The above comparisons provide some surprising results favoring the Storm Shadow design. This is especially true when compared to the aircraft it is most likely intended to replace, the F-117 stealth fighter. As indicated, the Storm Shadow can carry a payload similar to that of the F-22 or F-117, yet possesses a range greater than most of the other aircraft listed (although all are capable of refueling in flight except the Storm Shadow). The Storm Shadow is also much smaller than any of the aircraft shown, and it is also far less expensive. These comparisons not only prove the merit of the Uninhabited Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), but exemplify the superb capabilites of the Storm Shadow. When faced with Congressional threats to slash the number of new F-22s or Joint Strike Fighters that can be purchased, the military may turn to the UCAV to perform critical missions in defense of US interests. Able to perform many of the same missions as manned aircraft at a fraction of the cost, an aircraft like the Storm Shadow may well become the premier attack aircraft of the future.





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