Air Weapons: German Stealth Cruise Missile Enters Service


April 2, 2006: After final tests in South Africa in November 2005, the Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile entered service with the German Air Force. The Taurus has an effective reach of at least 370 kilometers, carrying the 990 pounds Mephisto warhead at a speed of over a thousand kilometers an hour. The smart penetrator system is capable of recognizing already destroyed structures and counting floor levels of buildings it attacks. This enables the Taurus to deliver its explosive power with an extremely high accuracy. The stealthy cruise missile navigates through GPS guidance and an infrared seeker with visual displaying capabilities. The latter is scanning the overflown terrain at predefined checkpoints for possible variances from the preset course in order to correct its flight path. The system will be used as a stand off weapon against high value and heavily defended targets. Depending on the type of target several different detonation sequences and final target approach tactics can be applied. For underground bunkers, the Taurus can attack in a nose dive to maximize the penetration depth. Less hardened targets will be engaged in an extreme low level flight to minimize the danger of detection. The Taurus will be initially be used on the German Tornado ground attack aircraft, and later in the Eurofighter Typhoon. Germany has ordered 600 Taurus for $680 million. With an order of 43 Spain has become the first export costumer in October 2005, with plans to use the Taurus on its Eurofighters and F-18s. - Joachim Hofbauer




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