Politician proposes 500 km-range Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine
“Ukraine’s partners must now do everything possible and provide Ukraine with everything that is allowed by international law. Taurus cruise missiles with a range of up to 500 kilometers would be a very useful contribution from Germany,” said influential CDU politician and retired colonel Roderich Kiesewetter in an interview with German media.
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According to Kiesewetter, Germany has a small number of these precision cruise missiles, but they would be of great use to Ukraine. The missiles would enable attacks on Russian military infrastructure far behind the front lines.
These claims are largely based on information regarding the use of British Storm Shadow missiles by the Ukrainian Air Force. They proved the low effectiveness of Russian air defenses in a collision with hard-to-detect high-speed targets.
How many missiles does Germany have?
Germany ordered about 600 Taurus KEPD 350K cruise missiles, but according to Kiesewetter, no more than 150 are suitable for use, and as the German politician emphasized in an interview with the RND agency – “better to go to Ukraine than to lie in warehouses.”
It is an open question how the German government will react to this proposal. The speech by MP Kiesewetter, who is a member of the CDU, the same party as Prime Minister Olaf Scholz, shows a divergence of opinion in Germany’s current governing parties as well. The transfer of Taurus missiles would be a very strong signal and a significant increase in the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian Air Force.
About Taurus KEPD 350K
The Taurus KEPD 350K cruise missiles were developed by the European consortium TAURUS Systems GmbH, which is a joint venture of MBDA Deutschland GmbH [67% of shares] and SAAB Dynamics AB [33%].
So far, German and Spanish Eurofighter fighters, Spanish F/A-18 Hornet fighters, and Korean Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle multi-role aircraft have been adapted to carry them. Korea was also the last customer to order Taurus missiles in 2016, with production continuing until 2018.
Taurus KEPD 350K range
The range of the KEPD 350K missiles with a reduced effective radar reflecting surface is estimated to be over 500 km. Powered by a Williams F121-WR-115 turbofan engine with a thrust of 6.67 kN, the missile reaches near subsonic speeds.
It guides to the target using an inertial navigation system, corrected by a GPS system with a radar altimeter and an electro-optical system based on a terrain map.
This allows flight at low altitudes, on the order of 30-40 meters above the ground. The distance of the projectile is estimated to be about 3 meters. The KEPD 350K carries a 481 kg warhead. The price of one rocket is about 1 million euros.
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