Unveiling the Best Details of TAURUS KEPD 350

Designed to engage heavily fortified and high-value strategic targets with a high degree of accuracy, Unveiling the Best Details of TAURUS KEPD 350 is an air-launched Stealthy Cruise Missile with precision guidance, equipped with advanced navigation systems, terrain-following capabilities, and a dual-stage warhead for optimized target penetration. The system is notably utilized by three air forces as of 2023, providing a versatile and effective solution for long-range precision strikes. Its cutting-edge technology and adaptable design make it a formidable asset in modern aerial warfare, enhancing the strategic capabilities of the nations employing it.

Photo Credit: Akela Freedom

The Taurus System is designed through a partnership forged between MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Saab Bofors Dynamics. The highly advanced missile incorporates cutting-edge stealth technology, boasting an official range that exceeds 500 km (300 mi). It is propelled by a turbofan engine characterized by its high subsonic speed, reaching Mach 0.95. This versatile missile can be seamlessly integrated and carried by a range of aircraft, including the Panavia Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, and McDonnell Douglas F-15K Slam Eagle.

Photo Credit: Luftwaffe Taurus-KEPD-350
Photo Credit: Luftwaffe / Armed with one Taurus KEPD 350 in its centre fuselage and two IRIS-T air-to-air missiles

By utilizing very low-level-terrain following flights to navigate through numerous air defences, the missile is equipped with a dual-stage 480-kilogram (1,058 lb) warhead, aptly named MEPHISTO (Multi-Effect Penetrator Highly Sophisticated and Target Optimized). This innovative warhead features a precharge and initial penetrating charge designed to clear soil or breach “hard and deeply buried targets” (HDBT), such as fortified underground bunkers.

Following this, a variable delay fuze is incorporated to precisely control the detonation of the main warhead. The missile, with a weight of approximately 1,400 kg (3,100 lb) and a body diameter of 42.5 in, is specifically engineered for a diverse range of intended targets. These include hardened bunkers, command, control, and communications facilities, airfield and port facilities, ammunition storage facilities, ships both in port and at sea, as well as area target attacks and bridges. Additionally, the missile is equipped with electronic countermeasures as a self-defence mechanism.

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Photo Credit: MBDA  /  TAURUS KEPD 350E with F-15
Photo Credit: MBDA  /  Unveiling the Best Details of TAURUS KEPD 350 with F-15K Slam Eagle

Design Overview of the Taurus KEPD 350 Missile System

Guidance System: Mission planners meticulously program the missile, specifying the target, air defence locations, and the planned ground path. Subsequently, the missile employs a low terrain-hugging flight path, guided by a sophisticated combination of inertial navigation system (INS), image-based navigation (IBN), terrain-referenced navigation (TRN), and the Global Positioning System (GPS) to navigate to the proximity of the target. It is noteworthy that the missile exhibits exceptional navigational prowess over extensive distances, even in the absence of GPS support.

This fail-safe concept ensures that the system can adhere to its planned flight path seamlessly, even in instances where permanent GPS availability may be compromised. Upon reaching the designated vicinity, the missile initiates a bunt manoeuvre, ascending to an altitude strategically chosen to optimize the probability of target acquisition and penetration.

An F-15 carrying the Taurus KEPD 350 during its test

Targeting Capabilities: Specifically engineered for the engagement of heavily fortified and high-value strategic targets with an exceptional degree of precision, the missile incorporates advanced features. Throughout its cruise flight, a high-resolution thermographic camera plays a crucial role in supporting navigation by utilizing Image-Based Navigation (IBN). This sophisticated camera is also instrumental in facilitating GPS-free target attack capabilities.

The missile employs a meticulous process wherein it seeks to align a camera image with the planned 3D target model, known as the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC). In instances where a match cannot be achieved, the system seamlessly defaults to other reliable navigation systems. Alternatively, if there is a perceived high risk of collateral damage, the missile exercises caution by steering toward a pre-designated crash point. This precautionary measure is taken to avoid the potential consequences of an inaccurate attack, ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the mission.

The world’s only programmable intelligent multi-purpose fuze enables the detonation of the penetrator at pre-selected floors within the target structure through layer counting and void-sensing technologies.

The image shows an F-15 just after releasing the Taurus KEPD 350 during its test

Operational advantages

  • Operational range over 500km
  • High survivability of missile and aircraft crew
  •  Unmatched penetration capabilities
  • ‘Layer counting’ fuze
  • Precise and jamming-resistant navigation
  • GPS independent
  • Modular concept for future enhancements
Photo Credit: MBDA
Photo Credit: MBDA  / TAURUS KEPD 350 Integrated with Tornado IDS

Variants of the Taurus System

The KEPD 350K variant is meticulously tailored for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). It distinguishes itself from the baseline model through the incorporation of a Rockwell Collins GPS receiver featuring a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM). This advanced addition serves the critical purpose of preventing potential jamming and enhancing the variant’s resilience and effectiveness in challenging operational scenarios.

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In October 2015, Taurus Systems made a significant announcement regarding the development of a more compact version of the missile, aptly named the KEPD 350K-2. This particular variant is specifically tailored for deployment on light fighters, with a particular focus on the South Korean FA-50 variant of the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle. In this adaptation, the range of the missile is deliberately reduced to 400 km, accompanied by a cruise speed ranging from Mach 0.7 to 0.9.

Notably, the KEPD 350K-2 is also slated to be integrated into the KAI KF-21 Boramae fighter, a platform currently under development and anticipated to be operational by the mid-2020s. This strategic expansion of the missile’s compatibility showcases Taurus Systems’ commitment to adapting its technology to diverse aircraft platforms, ensuring versatile and effective deployment in various operational scenarios.

The image capturing the Taurus KEPD 350 flying low to the ground just moments before hitting the target
International Operators of the Taurus KEPD 350

Currently, three countries are actively operating this advanced missile system, with Germany leading the way and possessing a total of 600 missiles designated for use on its Tornado IDS and Typhoon fighters. Spain has also committed to the system, placing orders for 43 missiles intended for its F/A-18 Hornets. Additionally, South Korea has shown significant interest, having ordered a total of 267 missiles for its F-15K Slam Eagle fighter jets.

This widespread adoption and proliferation of the missile underscore the global acknowledgement of its formidable power and effectiveness in modern warfare. The missile’s deployment not only showcases its versatility and adaptability but also its pivotal role in various operational contexts.

Photo Credit: MBDA
Photo Credit: MBDA / Eurofighter Typhoon armed with two Taurus KEPD 350 missiles and two IRIS-T air-to-air missiles under the wings

Specifications of the Taurus KEPD 350 Missile System

  • Weight:  1400 kg  ( 3,100 lb )
  • Length:  16 ft 9 in (5 m )
  • WingSpan:  6 ft 9 in ( 2.64 m )
  • Range:  500+ km
  • Diameter:  42.5 in ( 1.8 m )
  • Warhead: MEPHISTO (multi-effect penetrator highly sophisticated and target optimised), weighing 480 kg ( 1,058 lb )
  • Flight altitude:  Minimum 98 to 230 ft
  • Speed:  Subsonic, Mach 0.95
  • Engine:  Turbofan
  • Guidance:  INS ( inertial navigation system ), IBN ( image-based navigation), TRN ( terrain reference navigation ), GPS ( global positioning system )
  • Launch aircraft:  Tornado IDS, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-15K Eagle, F/A-18 Hornet, and Saab Gripen
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The image clearly shows the Taurus KEPD 350 just moments before hitting the designated target during its test

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In conclusion, the TAURUS KEPD 350 stands as a testament to advanced missile technology, offering a potent combination of precision, range, and versatility. With its sleek aerodynamic design, sophisticated guidance systems, and dual-stage warhead, the missile is engineered to excel in engaging heavily fortified and high-value strategic targets with remarkable accuracy. Its adaptability is evident in the various known variants, each potentially tailored for specific applications or featuring enhancements to keep pace with evolving defence requirements.

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