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Ukraine conflict: Integration of Taurus into Ukrainian aircraft and training would take at least six months

The Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile during integration tests with a Spanish Air Force EF-18. (Spanish Air Force)

Integration of the Taurus KEPD 350 air-launched cruise missile into a Ukrainian Su-24 combat aircraft would take a couple of months and training crews for its use would take three or four months, Joachim Knopf, CEO of MBDA Deutschland-Saab Dynamics 67:33 joint venture Taurus Systems, told international journalists, including Janes, visiting MBDA Deutschland on 27 October. Integration of Taurus into F-16 combat aircraft being donated to Ukraine would take one to one-and-a-half years, according to Knopf.

MBDA Deutschland managing director Thomas Gottschild said his company was waiting for a decision by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to supply Ukraine with Taurus before relaunching production of the missiles. Knopf estimated that Taurus production could resume after at least a year of preparations, with the possibility of longer lead times for electronic components and explosives.

He noted that Taurus is operational with Luftwaffe Tornado, Spanish Air Force EF-18, and Republic of Korea Air Force F-15K combat aircraft. He expected it to qualify for Eurofighter by 2028.

Knopf described Taurus as a bunker buster missile with an intelligent programmable fuze that senses layers when penetrating a target. He said the missile is able to fly 900 km/h at an altitude of 50 m and is, for example, spoof-resistant over the Baltic and South China seas, with swing wings able to increase its range by 10%.

Taurus Systems gives a range of over 500 km for the 1,400 kg missile, which has a 480 kg warhead and uses an inertial navigation system (INS), a Global Positioning System (GPS), an imaging infrared seeker, and a radar altimeter for navigation.

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