Ukrainian crews will require three to four months of training to operate the German Taurus KEPD 350 air-launched cruise missile, the joint venture manufacturer’s CEO has revealed.
Citing MBDA Deutschland-Saab Dynamics CEO Joachim Knopf, Janes wrote that integrating the missile with Ukraine’s Su-24 fighter jets would take two to three months and fixing it on the US-made F-16s is one to one-and-a-half years of work.
Up to 300 Missiles Available
Knopf said that they would relaunch missile production if Berlin decides to send the weapon to Ukraine, adding that they have been waiting for a decision.
Germany has not approved Ukraine’s requests to provide them with the missile for fear of escalation.
Germany could reportedly ready 150 to 300 Taurus missiles quickly for use out of a stock of 600.
The missile has a stated range of 500 kilometers (310 miles), similar to the Franco-British Storm Shadow/SCALP, already operational with the Ukrainian military.
The Taurus’ swing wings reportedly add 10 percent to its range.
The two missiles also share similarities in weight and warhead: the Storm Shadow/SCALP is 1,300 kilograms (2,866 pounds), including a 450-kilogram (992 pound) warhead.
Including a 461-kilogram (1,016 pound) warhead, the Taurus weighs an additional 100 kilograms (220 pounds).
However, the Taurus’ fuze enables it to target complex structures, such as bridges, more effectively than its Franco-British counterpart, Politico reported, citing a doctoral research fellow and missile expert at the University of Oslo, Fabian Hoffmann.
A Storm Shadow/SCALP fuze requires manual setting to effect a delay between impact and warhead detonation, making targeting a multi-layered structure difficult, the outlet explained.
“The warhead may have to first pass through a relatively thin roadbed before impacting on the real objective — the concrete pillar holding up the whole structure,” Politico wrote, citing Hoffman.
The Taurus warhead is equipped with a “void sensing and layer counting” fuze, which can recognize layers of material and voids and can more effectively blow up multi-layered or buried targets.”
Could Strike Kerch Bridge Better
According to Hoffman, the weapon’s fuze advantage gives it a higher strike percentage compared to its counterparts.
“One missile equipped with a void sensing & layer counting fuze can therefore cause the damage that previously could only be achieved with two or more accurately dropped bombs,” Hofmann said, adding that Ukraine could inflict greater damage to the Kerch bridge, which links Russia with Crimea, with the Taurus than with other, similar weapons.