In a recent interview with German media, influential CDU politician and retired colonel Roderich Kiesewetter emphasized the importance of adhering to international law and supporting Ukraine to the fullest extent possible. He specifically suggested that Germany could make a valuable contribution by providing Taurus cruise missiles with a range of up to 500 kilometers.
Kiesewetter noted that Germany possesses a limited quantity of these highly accurate cruise missiles, which could greatly benefit Ukraine. By utilizing these missiles, Ukraine would be able to carry out strategic strikes on Russian military infrastructure located deep within enemy territory, surpassing the front lines.
These statements are primarily grounded in observations of the Ukrainian Air Force’s utilization of British Storm Shadow missiles. These previous engagements demonstrated the significant vulnerabilities of Russian air defenses when faced with elusive and fast-moving targets that are difficult to detect.
Germany has placed an order for approximately 600 Taurus KEPD 350K cruise missiles. However, according to Kiesewetter, a limited number of these missiles, no more than 150, are deemed suitable for operational deployment. In an interview with the RND agency, the German politician stressed the importance of these missiles being put to use rather than being stored in warehouses.
The response of the German government to this proposal remains uncertain. The remarks made by MP Kiesewetter, who belongs to the CDU, the same political party as Prime Minister Olaf Scholz, highlight a divergence of opinions within Germany’s current ruling parties. The transfer of Taurus missiles to Ukraine would convey a robust message and significantly enhance the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian Air Force.
The Taurus KEPD 350K cruise missiles were jointly developed by MBDA Deutschland GmbH (holding 67% of shares) and SAAB Dynamics AB (holding 33%), forming the European consortium known as TAURUS Systems GmbH.
These missiles have been successfully integrated onto various aircraft platforms, including German and Spanish Eurofighter fighters, Spanish F/A-18 Hornet fighters, and Korean Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle multi-role aircraft. The Republic of Korea became the most recent customer to procure Taurus missiles in 2016, with production ongoing until 2018.
With a reduced effective radar reflecting surface, the KEPD 350K missiles boast an estimated range exceeding 500 kilometers. Propelled by a Williams F121-WR-115 turbofan engine generating 6.67 kilonewtons of thrust, the missile achieves near subsonic speeds during flight.
The missile’s guidance system utilizes an inertial navigation system, which is further refined by a GPS system, radar altimeter, and electro-optical system based on terrain mapping. This enables precise targeting and allows the missile to operate at low altitudes, typically around 30-40 meters above ground level. The missile measures approximately 3 meters in length and carries a warhead weighing 481 kilograms.
Each Taurus KEPD 350K missile is valued at approximately 1 million euros.