Taurus KEPD 350
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Taurus KEPD 350K
Airbus Group and Saab
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Description: The Taurus KEPD 350 is a high precision standoff weapon designed to penetrate dense air defense systems to destroy high value, hardened, stationary and semi-stationary targets. It was developed by Taurus Systems GmbH, a EADS/LFK GmbH (67 percent) and Saab Bofors Dynamics (33 percent) joint venture, based in Schrobenhausen (Germany) to meet the requirements of the German Air Force for a long range standoff weapon. Since, the weapon has evolved into a family of missiles that can be launched from a wide range of land, sea and/or airborne platforms. The guidance system of the Taurus KEPD 350 missile consists of a GPS/INS and terrain recognition navigation system and infrared (IR) imaging seeker for the terminal phase of the flight for enhanced positive identification and discrimination of the assigned target.
As a potential upgrade, Taurus standoff weapon could be fitted with a data-link allowing moving targets to be engaged precisely while providing feedback information to the weapon's operator. The data-link provides with an additional capability of assessment on whether the target was engaged successfully or not. Thanks to its modular architecture Taurus can be retrofitted at low cost and risks on further developments are avoided by the way. Once released, the Taurus KEPD 350 flies at low altitude avoiding the air defenses relying upon its sophisticated navigation system. When the Taurus missile arrives to the target area its imaging IR seeker provides the critical information to carry out the final attack to effectively kill the pre-programmed target. Its long range, at least 350 km, increases launching aircraft survivability against extremely heavily defended targets where a direct attack is too dangerous.
As of 2005, the Taurus missile was validated for release from the Tornado, Typhoon, F/A-18, Gripen, F-16, P-3C and F-111 aircraft. There are plans to develop special Taurus variants with different warheads and released from different platforms such as ships and ground vehicles. In addition to the Taurus KEPD 350, Taurus Systems GmbH has developed the Taurus CL for launch from ground- and sea-based platforms; Taurus HPM; Taurus M; Taurus KEPD 350 L; and Taurus T so far. The new variants of Taurus system were unveiled at the Paris Air Show 2005.
The Taurus KEPD 350 baseline model payload is one one Mephisto penetrator-warhead specially designed to penetrate hardened targets such as bunkers, fortifications or buried targets. On August 8, 2002, Germany ordered a first lot of 600 Taurus KEPD 350 missiles plus 14 training missiles for its Air Force with deliveries scheduled to begin in November 2004 through 2009. In November 2004, Spain became the first export customer ordering the Taurus missile for the Spanish Air Force's F/A-18 and Eurofighter aircraft. Sener will be the prime contractor for the Spanish Taurus missiles. On 24 June 2005, the Spanish government approved the acquisition of 43 Taurus KEPD 350 missiles for the Spanish Air Force EF-18 Hornet and Eurofighter/Typhoon aircraft. Thus, Spain became a partner for Germany on the integration of the Taurus missile onto the Eurofighter's weapon system.
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