The TAURUS aviation cruise missile, full name TAURUS KEPD 350, was developed in the early 2000s by the defense concerns of Germany and Sweden. The engineers of the German company MBDA Deutschland and the Swedish Bofors participated in the creation of the missile.
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Work on the creation of a subsonic cruise missile began in 1998. According to the declared characteristics, the German-Swedish development is close to the French-British Storm Shadow missile.
The design of the rocket was carried out at an accelerated pace. Already in 1999, the rocket made its first flight. In 2002, the German Air Force contracted to purchase 600 of these missiles. In November 2004, Spain became the first foreign customer of cruise missiles.
These are the only countries that are armed with the TAURUS missile. The contract for the supply of 600 such missiles for the German army was completed by MBDA Deutschland in 2010.
About TAURUS missile
The TAURUS cruise missile is designed for high-precision destruction of protected and buried targets without the carrier aircraft entering the enemy’s air defense coverage area. The launch weight of the rocket is 1360 kg with a length of 5.1 meters.
The missile received a carrier body with an upper wing with a small extension and a cross-shaped tail. To reduce radar visibility, the hull of the cruise missile has a rectangular cross-section and is made of composite materials. The case has no sharp edges on the interface and is covered with a special radio-absorbing material.
The missile is standard equipped with a tandem concrete warhead weighing 481 kg. The first charge is cumulative, and the second [main] is high-explosive. The high-explosive charge is enclosed in a high-strength steel casing 2.3 meters long. The shape of the charge is optimized for breaking through concrete obstacles. The weight of a high-explosive charge together with a steel case is 400 kg.
The declared flight speed of the TAURUS KEPD 350 cruise missile is Mach 0.6-0.95. In combat use, the flight is carried out in the entire range of altitudes, including at ultra-low altitudes in the terrain envelope mode at a speed of Mach 0.8 [980 km/h]. Low-altitude flight modes ensure the missile’s viability in overcoming the air defense system, which makes detection and interception difficult.
The manufacturer claims that the range of the TAURUS KEPD 350 missile is more than 500 km. A lightweight version of the TAURUS KEPD 350 L [Light] rocket is also presented. The model has less fuel and a lighter tandem warhead. Such a cruise missile is designed to accommodate aircraft with a smaller payload. The 350 L model range has not been revealed.
The TAURUS KEPD 350 cruise missile received a combined target guidance system. The inertial system is connected to GPS navigation. At the same time, the missile remains effective even without a satellite navigation signal, which can be suppressed by radio-electronic warfare.
This is achieved through TRN [Terrain Reference Navigation] contoured terrain navigation and a high-precision radar altimeter mounted on the missile.
The cruise missile also received an electron-optical correlation subsystem IBN [Image Based Navigation]. Route correction [up to 10 times during flight] is performed using digital maps of pre-recorded application areas. On the last leg of the flight, a thermal imaging homing head comes into play.
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