Spain eyes German-made Taurus missiles for its Typhoon fleet

The Aerospace Force has unveiled plans to incorporate the Taurus KEPD 350 long-range cruise missile system into the software of their latest Eurofighter aircraft models – namely, the Halcón I and II. These improved models are slated for active service from 2026 onwards. 

TAURUS - the German equal of Storm Shadow long-range missile
Photo credit: MBDA

The intent behind this move is to ensure the Taurus system remains operationally viable. At present, only the F-18 aircraft can deploy this missile. However, as the F-18 nears its service life limit, incorporating the Taurus system into the Eurofighter forms a crucial part of the transition plan, the Aerospace Force conveyed at a recent missile conference in Madrid. 

In 2005, Spain secured 43 Taurus air-to-surface missiles, with a price tag of €57.3 million. This package also included a couple of terrestrial training missiles, their corresponding integrated logistics support system, and mission planning architecture. Not to mention, it also contained all the necessary tools, support, documentation, and funds required for the full fleet implementation within the F-18. 

TAURUS - the German equal of Storm Shadow long-range missile
Photo credit: MBDA

Formally known as the Target Adaptive Unitary and Dispenser Robotic Ubiquity System, or Alad, the Taurus program provides the aerospace army with a 500-kilometer reach against designated high-value targets. 

Worldwide, only two other countries boast this potent weapon: Germany, with 600 units, and South Korea, with 260 units. Recently, Germany’s potential transfer of a Taurus batch to Ukraine has propelled this missile into the global spotlight.


Spain lands F-18s and strains its Eurofighter Getafe factory
Photo credit: UK MoD Crown

In 2018, the government of Spain greenlighted a €30 million agreement to revamp the Taurus. This process, officially termed MLU (Mid-Life Upgrade), encompasses the integration of a sophisticated GPS antenna with an advanced GPS receiver, shielded against interference. The upgrade involves introducing filtering systems, updating missile software, refining navigation algorithms, and enhancing the Image Processing Computer [IPC] software. This modernization was certified in 2020 following a German test campaign launched from the Manching Air Base in Bavaria. 

According to information from the executives, there were 39 units in Spain’s arsenal at the time the upgrade was announced. In October 2016, live demonstrations of this revamped missile took place at the Vidsel test site in Sweden, performed under the aegis of the Air Force. 

The missile, a brainchild of Taurus Gmbh, possesses the capacity for full autonomy once released from the aircraft. During its flight, the missile employs a three-tier navigation system: an Inertial Navigation System [INS], a GPS unit capable of receiving and interpreting signals on both C/A [commercial use] and P/Y [military use] frequencies, and a navigation system that references terrain and uses imaging for higher precision.


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