TAURUS KEPD 350: HIGH PRECISION, STAND-OFF, TERRAIN HUGGING, BUNKER BUSTER

Asia Pacific’s unique border security challenges arise from two significant features: undulating terrains with large stretches of sea and coastal features and the presence of non-state actors who often use the treacherous terrain and the uncertainty of the border on the ground to hunker down, create bases in hills or otherwise spread themselves out over difficult terrain. The cost of close engagement are high and ground troops have the challenge of adversaries shooting from more advantageous ground. Similarly, airborne troops and fighters have to constantly stay wary of the omnipresent shoulder-fired missiles. To combat high-value, heavily protected targets requires a strategic weapon with high kill probability and surgical precision.

The TAURUS KEPD 350 (Kinetic Energy Penetrator and Destroyer) is being evaluated by a number of countries for its capabilities. The TAURUS KEPD 350 is a high precision stand-off weapon system designed to penetrate dense air-defences and neutralise high-value stationary and semi-stationary targets.

According to Christoffer Drevstad, Vice President Business Development at TAURUS Systems,  “The TAURUS KEPD 350 weapon system is one of the most modern long range standoff guided missile systems available, providing the TAURUS User Community with an exceptional stand-off precision strike capability. Highly demanding air operations require the ability to strike with accuracy and penetrate dense air-defences on the ground. The TAURUS KEPD 350 missile is a highly advanced modular all-weather stand-off weapon and is extremely effective against hardened bunkers and other hardened, deeply buried targets, as well as high-value point and area targets such as large radar stations.”

The design of the TAURUS KEPD 350 missile will provide the user with an enhanced strike capability against a broad target spectrum, ranging from bunkers and bridges to runways and ships in port.

LOW LEVEL TERRAIN FOLLOWING FLIGHT

The TAURUS KEPD 350 weapon system is, designed to penetrate dense air defences by means of a very low level terrain following flight. The accuracy of the missile’s guidance system on its extremely low-level (“nap-of-the earth”) flight requires a highly agile and manoeuvrable missile. As a result, the TAURUS KEPD 350 missile was given the most powerful turbo-fan engine of its class, thus allowing for high cruise speed at low level, which combined with the guidance system, allows for quick and agile manoeuvres ensuring that the missile stays precisely on the planned flight path.

The weapon system design was carried out with a strong involvement of end-users leading to the achievement of a number of key parameters that contribute to the high mission success rate, starting with the high accuracy by which the missile delivers the warhead into the target.

DUAL STAGE WARHEAD SYSTEM MEPHISTO

The TAURUS KEPD 350 missile structure has been designed around the highly efficient dual stage warhead (MEPHISTO), providing a superior penetration capability compared with other stand-off missile systems.

The MEPHISTO warhead contains an intelligent fuze, which is the only one of its kind.  The programmable fuze allows the detonation of the penetrator to be pre-selected for any floor, deep within the target structure. This is achieved through layer counting and void sensing technology. The survivability of the TAURUS KEPD 350 missile is based on low observability (LO) and terrain masking; therefore, the TAURUS KEPD 350 missile offers excellent manoeuvrability, enabling terrain following at very low altitudes.

It combines outstanding penetration capabilities for hard and deeply buried targets (HDBT), as well as blast and fragmentation capabilities against high-value point and area targets (e.g. air defences), as well as an exceptional bridge- and runway-target kill capacity.

STAND-OFF MISSILE WITH TRI-TEC NAVIGATION

The TAURUS KEPD 350 remains the only stand-off missile capable of being programmed for effect at a specific pre-selected floor. This extraordinary feature is achieved by applying layer counting and void sensing-technology.

The KEPD 350 missile uses “Tri-Tec” navigation, to ensure highly robust navigation system with an inertial measurement unit as its core resulting in an exact delivery to the target. The “Tri-Tec” array of sensors means that the TAURUS KEPD 350 weapon system can utilize different combinations the following sensor inputs (user- or automatically selected depending on scenario):

• GPS data,

• Terrain profile and

• Infrared image information

The TAURUS KEPD 350 Mission Planning System (MPS) optimizes the flight path taking the entire threat scenario for a theatre into account. The TAURUS KEPD 350 MPS will adapt the flight path of the missile to avoid the line-of sight of all radars; however, should this prove impossible due to the density of air defence systems, the LO-features, both missile integral and mission planning (low-level flight) will be utilized.

The TAURUS KEPD 350 MPS will plan the missile trajectory in such a way that the exposure to radars will be minimized in such a way that the missile will present the lowest possible Radar Cross Section to the threat radars. The TAURUS KEPD 350 missile architecture was conceived to reach a modular design, allowing for easy realisation / incorporation of growth potentials to the missile as well as simplifying maintenance efforts over the lifetime of the system, resulting in a Low Life Cycle cost.

A GERMAN-SWEDISH COLLABORATION

The TAURUS KEPD 350 is a product of TAURUS Systems GmbH, a joint venture between MBDA Germany GmbH and Saab Dynamics AB, for the development, production and global marketing of the TAURUS stand-off missile family for long-range precision strikes.

Since December 2005, Germany has procured 600 TAURUS KEPD 350 missiles. The first missiles were fitted to the Tornado IDS strike fighters and declared operational in 2005.

Spain became the first export customer when they in 2004 signed a contract for missiles and the associated missile planning and support system. The missiles are fitted to Spain’s EF-18 (F/A-18) Hornets. 

In 2013 the Republic of Korea bought the missiles for their fleet of F15K. The start of deliveries will happen during 2016.

The integration on the EUROFIGHTER is planned by both Germany and Spain in the near future.