Germany is currently considering the potential transfer of the Taurus long-range cruise missile to the Ukrainian Army in the near future.
The Ukrainian Air Force has recently taken delivery of a significant number of Storm Shadow tactical cruise missiles from the United Kingdom. Additionally, they are expected to receive the French-made Scalp EG variant in the coming months. According to reports from several Russian newspapers, there are indications that Germany may be considering the provision of 100-150 Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. These missiles possess a range of up to 480 km, thereby significantly increasing their potential threat level.
The Taurus KEPD 350 is an advanced long-range surface-to-surface cruise missile that has been meticulously developed by Taurus Systems GmbH. This esteemed enterprise is a joint venture between two prominent entities, namely MBDA Deutschland GmbH of Germany and Saab Bofors Dynamics of Sweden. One of the most prominent characteristics of the Taurus missile lies in its utilization of radar-absorbing materials, coupled with a specially designed form, which confers an exceptional degree of stealth. This advanced configuration ensures a level of concealment that surpasses the capabilities of enemy air defense systems, effectively evading detection and interception.
The navigation system employed by the Taurus missile encompasses a comprehensive fusion of multiple techniques to ensure optimal precision. It integrates inertial navigation (INS), image-based navigation (IBN), panoramic view (TRN), and seamless connectivity with the global positioning system MIL-GPS. This sophisticated amalgamation of methodologies enables the Taurus to achieve near-flawless accuracy in its navigational capabilities. The Taurus air-to-ground cruise missile exhibits a compact and streamlined configuration, measuring approximately 5.1 meters in length, 1.08 meters in body diameter, and 2.06 meters in wingspan. Despite its relatively modest dimensions, it maintains a launch weight of 1,400 kilograms, signifying a well-balanced and efficient design.
The Taurus missile is equipped with the Williams P8300-15 turboprop propeller engine, which plays a crucial role in enabling the aircraft to achieve an impressive top speed of Mach 0.95. Furthermore, when operating at an altitude as low as 30-40 meters above the terrain, the Taurus boasts an exceptional range surpassing 500 kilometers. This combination of power and efficiency showcases the remarkable capabilities of the Taurus in traversing substantial distances while maintaining low-altitude flight profiles.
The Taurus missile incorporates a 500 kg warhead featuring an advanced delayed detonation mechanism. This mechanism strategically utilizes the rocket’s kinetic energy to effectively penetrate heavily fortified underground bunkers and solid structures before initiating a powerful explosion. The primary objective behind this design is to optimize the destructive impact and maximize damage potential in such scenarios. According to prevailing analysis, there is a widely held belief among experts that Ukraine’s Su-24 front-line bomber is likely to be outfitted as a Taurus missile carrier, bearing resemblance to the renowned Storm Shadow missile system.
The Ukrainian Air Force presently maintains a fleet of 8-10 operational Su-24 aircraft. However, it is anticipated that they have the potential to enhance their capabilities by adapting the MiG-29 fighters, which have been generously contributed by NATO nations, to serve as formidable carriers of this potent cruise missile.