The German government is considering technical modifications to its long-range Taurus missiles before possibly sending them to Ukraine, according to a report by German outlet Der Spiegel.
Kyiv has been asking Berlin to send its powerful air-launched cruise missiles with a strike range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) to help counter Russian aggression.
Germany has already expressed its hesitation over fears that the weapon could be used to strike deep into Russian territory and widen the conflict.
“Germany is focusing on heavy artillery, armored vehicles, and air defense systems,” a spokesperson said, as quoted by Reuters. “There is no new information on the Taurus cruise missile.”
Despite issuing no clear decision as of yet, the German defense ministry is reportedly negotiating with the missile manufacturer to integrate programming restrictions.
The changes could reduce the range of the Taurus missile and prevent Russia from obtaining key components of the weapon if captured.
‘Crucial’ to Ukraine’s Fightback
The Taurus KEPD-350 missile is regarded as the most modern weapon system in the German military inventory.
Apart from having a longer range than other missiles, the weapon travels up to 1,170 kilometers (727 miles) per hour, nearly the speed of sound.
The Taurus also flies at an altitude of only 35 meters (114 feet), making it almost impossible to be tracked by radar systems.
The missile is used to hit high-value targets, including command bunkers and ammunition depots.
According to Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Taurus would be “crucial” to Kyiv’s counteroffensive because of its range and lethality.
Berlin reportedly has 600 Taurus missiles, with 150 of them ready for use in combat.
A Similar Initiative
Germany’s plan to downgrade its Taurus missiles for Ukraine follows a similar decision by the US when Zelensky pleaded for long-range missiles.
Sources said Washington secretly altered the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) it provided to Kyiv to prevent them from reaching Russia.
Despite the technical modifications, the rockets were still hailed as a “game-changer” after neutralizing many Russian assets and penetrating stiff defenses.
The US government is being urged to send the long-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) to the war-torn nation to bolster its combat capabilities.