TAURUS KEPD 350 gallery

Taurus KEPD 350 missile belongs to the so-called “stand-off weapons”, which allow the launch aircraft to remain out of range of anti-aircraft defenses. This long-range modular air-launched cruise missile is created for precision attacks against targets of high military value even if they are fortified or located in bunkers several meters below ground thanks to its HDBT (Hard and Deeply Buried Targets) attack concept. This missile is suitable for attacking bunkers, underground command centers, bridges, runways, weapons depots, ships in ports, SAM missile sites and aircraft on the ground under protective shelters.
The missile weighs 1,404 kg, is 5.07 meters long and has a diameter of 1.06 meters and its wings have a 2.03 meter wingspan. The KEPD 350 is made of composite materials that absorb radio waves and its rectangular shape with rounded edges help it to have a very low radar signature. The two small wings and a cruciform tail fin with controls drives the flight of the missile, which takes place between 30 and 80 meters altitude. This ultra low altitude gives it great survivability against air defenses.
KEPD 350 is powered by a Williams International P8300-15 turbojet engine that receives air for the turbine from two air intakes located on the sides of the missile. These curved inlet channels of the air intakes prevent easy location by ground radars. Two fuel tanks are located on the sides of the missile surrounding the combat unit (warhead). The maximum speed is about 1,160 km/h (Mach 0.95) and the maximum range is more than 500 km, although if JP10 fuel is used the range is increased by 15%.
This missile has a navigation system called Tri-tec, which basically consists of a GPS-supported inertial navigation system (INS), a radar altimeter and an imaging infrared (IR) seeker head. Thanks to its design, the missile can fly great distances without GPS aids, something unique in this type of weapons. KEPD 350 must be programmed on the ground before the attack, entering its flight path to the target and the sites where air defenses have been detected. This system is of the “fail-safe” type and the missile also has a self-defense mechanism and electronic counter measures (ECM).
The main navigation system is of the inertial type combined with a 12 channel P code MIL-GPS. This inertial system (INS) is composed by several laser gyroscopes built by Northrop Grumman. As a complement to the INS we find a Terrain Reference Navigation (TRN) system that uses a high-precision radar altimeter (Q band) that follows the contour of the terrain. Finally, an electronic-optical Image Based Navigation (IBN) system that follows the terrain maps programmed before launch completes the Tri-tec navigation system. Thanks to the TRN and IBN systems, the missile can be guided autonomously to the target without satellite support, and thanks to the in-flight data provided by the TRN and IBN systems, allows up to 10 corrections in flight. Once close to the target, the infrared seeker head is activated, which is what it guides the missile until the impact occurs.
Taurus KEPD 350 is designed to attack “HDBT” targets (Hard and Deeply Buried Targets). For this task, it has a MEPHISTO (Multi-Effect Penetrator, High Sophisticated and Target Optimized) combat unit. This unit is composed by a 493 kg tandem concrete piercing warhead and a system called PIMPF (Programmable Intelligent Multi Purpose Fuze) built by the French-German firm TDA/TDW. The tandem warhead is composed by a precursor shaped charge that thanks to a distance sensor, determines the optimal distance of the detonation on the target. This charge measures 533mm long by 355mm in cumulative diameter and weighs 95 kg. Behind this element is the main explosive charge, which consists of a penetrator measuring 2.30 meters long and weighing 398 kg. It is built of a high-strength material and optimized to penetrate rock and concrete.
MEPHISTO system is completed with the world’s only programmable intelligent multi-purpose fuze (PIMPF) that allows an effective detonation of the penetrator. The PIMPF uses an internal accelerometer that detects the generated overload and compares it with the ones recorded in its processor memory. It determines the number of layers and their density (floors and voids) as well as the time and distance traveled by the main explosive charge and then detonates at the right time. This weapon can also detonate in mid-air to attack ground targets, for which both explosive charges detonate simultaneously.
The KEPD 350 missile is a multi-platform system since it can be used from aircraft, ships and ground vehicles. Taurus offers several variants such as the Taurus CL, Taurus L/KEPD 150, Taurus M and Taurus MP. The CL (container launched) variant is designed to be fired from a container from ships or land platforms and has an integrated booster. The L or KEPD 150 (mass reduced version) is a light version with a reduced warhead and shorter range. The M (multiple warhead) variant has a multiple warhead equipped with different ammunition to attack armor (SMART-SEAD), runways (STABO) and open field motorized groups (MUSJAS 1 shrapnel submunitions). The MP (modular payload) variant allows you to install any type of ammunition as a payload. According to some sources, a variant called Taurus HPM (High Power Microwave) would also be available, which would emit high-power microwaves with an effect similar to electromagnetic pulse bombs (EMP).
Five types of attack missions can be programmed into the missile. The “Pop up” type (on the image-upper)), in which the missile flies at a low altitude and dives to fall vertically on the target, suitable against bunkers and underground buildings. The “Low level pop up” type, with a flight at low altitude and soft dive to impact at an angle of about 45º, suitable against ships in port and aircrafts in shelters. The “Dive attack” type (on the image-below), with high altitude flight and soft dive to hit at an angle of about 45º, suitable against bridges. The “Air burst” type. with low altitude flight and detonation in the air, suitable against groups of vehicles, aircrafts or helicopters. And the “Horizontal cave” type, with ultra-low altitude flight and detonation inside cave-like shelters.
German firm Elektroniksystem-und Logistik-GmbH (ESG Munich) created in 2001 a computerized mission preparation system. This centralized system, known as “TAURUS KEPD 350 Mission Planning System” allows to record in the missile’s memory all the necessary data to carry out the mission autonomously. Through this system, parameters such as: -Generation of Target Attack Plan, -Calculation of the Target Effect, -Flight Path Generation, -Survivability Calculation, -Missile Navigation Data Generation, -Multi-Missile Mission Optimization and -Mission Success Calculation are created. All parameters can be checked through a 3D simulation generated by the system itself before each mission.
Taurus also offers portable terminals to the users to be able to insert all the mission data in the operative bases in a decentralized way. In this way, last minute modifications prepared by the centralized Mission Planning System can be included in the missiles just before the mission. These terminals use hardware based on standard PC with a Windows application, an Oracle database and a Carmenta Spatial Ace Map engine generator.
In August 2002, Germany became the first user of the Taurus KEPD 350 by placing an order for 600 missiles plus 14 training missiles. This order was delivered between January 2005 and December 2010 and had a total cost of 570 million euros. In 2006 the Luftwaffe integrated these missiles as part of the armament of its Tornado IDS fighter-bombers (on the image). Recently it has carried out the same process with its Eurofighter Typhoon.
In November 2004, Spain placed an order for 43 Taurus missiles plus 2 training missiles for the Air Force, an operation that cost 57.4 million euros. The contract also provided for the physical and functional integration in the EF-18 Hornet fighter-bomber (on the image) as well as the integrated logistics support system and the mission planning system among other equipment. Delivery began in 2008 and was completed in August 2010.
In May 2009 a detachment of the Spanish Air Force traveled to the Overberg firing range in South Africa to certify the integration of the missile in the EF-18. This mission was designated “Operacion Cruz del Sur” (Operation South Cross) and four EF-18 fighter-bombers (on the image) along with several transport (C-295 and C-130), aerial refueling (B-707) and salvage (Fokker F-27) aircraft carried out preparations for the launch of two Taurus TOM (Telemetry Operational Missile) missiles. These two real missiles had an instrumentation kit instead of the combat unit to monitor and transmit in real time the missile’s internal telemetry. It also had a missile destruction system through a security termination system. Several test and verification flights were carried out that culminated in the launch of the 2 operational missiles with totally satisfactory results.
In September 2016, four EF-18s (on the image) belonging to the 12th and 15th Wings were sent to the Vidsel firing range in Sweden to fire another two Taurus missiles with positive results. In mid-2018, the Spanish Government approved the MLU (Mid Life Upgrade) programm of all the missiles, (39 in stock) at a cost of 30 million euros. This improving process consists of the installation of a new GPS antenna and a GPS receiver with a signal anti-jamming module, called the Integrated GPS Anti-Jam System (IGAS). In addition, the image processing computer (IPC) software and the complex navigation software and algorithms are modernized. The upgrade was certified by three EF-18Ms from 12th Wing in November 2020 at the Luftwaffe base in Manching, Bavaria, Germany.
South Korea placed an order for 170 missiles in November 2013 to be integrated into its F-15K fighter-bombers (on image). The Korean missiles are of the enhanced and upgraded KEPD 350K variant, specifically developed and equipped with a Rockwell Collins GPS receiver and the SAASM anti-jamming system. In 2014 Taurus opened the subsidiary Taurus Korea Systems (TSK) in Seoul, to track the delivery process and transfer of technology for a future jointly developed long-range air-to-ground missile, based on the Taurus cruise missile. In October 2015 Taurus presented a new variant for Korea called KEPD 350K-2, with a shorter range (400 km) and suitable for use in light combat aircraft such as the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle, but at the moment it has not been adopted.
In October 2016 the South Korean Air Force (ROKAF) ordered an additional 90 missiles, for a total order of 260 Taurus KEPD 350K (on image). In December 2016 the first 40 missiles arrived, which were assigned to the air units immediately. On these same dates, the South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that the development of the new cruise missile based on the Taurus would begin in 2018. This new missile will be manufactured entirely in South Korea and is expected to be integrated around the year 2025 together with the new KAI KF-21 Boramae multirole fighter.
Sweden may be the next country to enter the Taurus KEPD user list. On this occasion it seems that the chosen variant will be the “Taurus L or KEPD 150“, lighter and shorter range than the standard missile. Since 2014, after the Crimean crisis, Sweden has initiated several defense programs, among which is the integration of the KEPD 150 missile with the Gripen C/D fighter-bombers (on image). It appears that both systems are currently integrated and could be operational immediately after acquisition, but the Swedish Air Force has not placed any missile orders yet.

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