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South Korea signs contract for 90 more Taurus bunker buster cruise missiles

South Korea has signed a contract to purchase 90 more Taurus long-range bunker-buster air-to-ground cruise missiles, a defense official said.

“The contract was signed in late February,” Kang Hwan-seok, spokeperson for the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said on Tuesday, March 13, Yonhap reported.

According to a UPI report, the missiles are to be acquired between 2019 and 2020, and are estimated to cost around $760 million.

South Korea ordered 170 Taurus KEPD-350 cruise missiles in 2013, and the decision to acquire 90 more was made in 2016.

The majority of South Korea’s Taurus missiles are fitted on its F-15K fighter jets, and are intended to target key facilities in North Korea. According to UPI, the Punggye-ri nuclear site and the Sohae launch facility are within the missile’s range.

The Taurus KEPD-350 is produced as a joint venture between Sweden’s Saab Bofors and MBDA, itself a joint venture between Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.

The all-weather precision-guided stand-off missile system is designed to penetrate air defence systems in very low flight and destroy hardened and deep-buried targets on the ground, while also being effective in area attack.

The missile is powered by a high thrust turbofan engine and has a range of 500 km (310 miles) with a top speed of Mach 0.95. It utilizes three navigation systems – inertial navigation with an image base; terrain reference navigation; and GPS – alongside an infrared image seeker.

Taurus carries the 481kg MEPHISTO (Multi-Effect Penetrator, Highly Sophisticated and Target Optimised) tandem warhead which uses the Programmable Intelligent Multi-Purpose Fuse (PIMPF). This fuse can count layers and voids in a building, allowing a specific storey to be selected.

The Taurus system is fielded by Germany, Spain and South Korea.

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