The new stan­dard in long-range pre­ci­sion at­tack

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation Defence & Inindia - Cour­tesy: Tau­rus Sys­tems GmbH

Air­borne stand- off weapons are de­fined by their range, lethal­ity and ac­cu­racy. To sit at the ‘ top ta­ble’ when it comes to mis­sion suc­cess, a weapon must ex­cel in all three cat­e­gories. To have long range but a poor ef­fect on the tar­get is mean­ing­less! To trade ac­cu­racy for de­struc­tive power is also a poor com­pro­mise! The Tau­rus KEPD 350E, a prod­uct of Tau­rus Sys­tems GmbH, a joint ven­ture be­tween Saab and MBDA Ger­many, de­liv­ers an un­par­al­leled com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters: long range and in­tel­li­gent flight be­hav­iour, a dev­as­tat­ing com­bi­na­tion of war­head and fuse tech­nol­ogy, plus an ex­tremely ac­cu­rate and highly re­dun­dant guid­ance sys­tem for pin-point at­tacks.

In ad­di­tion, the KEPD 350 is plat­form in­de­pen­dent. It has been suc­cess­fully in­te­grated on a wide range of air­craft and there are no tech­ni­cal lim­i­ta­tions or se­cu­rity re­stric­tions to stand in the way of fu­ture in­te­gra­tions on new air­craft types. The mis­sile is al­ready in ser­vice or avail­able for use on the Panavia Tor­nado IDS, Boe­ing F/A-18 and F-15. In­te­gra­tion flights with Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen have also been car­ried out. The KEPD 350E is de­signed for use with tac­ti­cal fast jets, but stud­ies have shown that other launch meth­ods are pos­si­ble. The mis­siles could be car­ried by and launched from trans­port air­craft, for ex­am­ple, and there is also the po­ten­tial to de­velop ground- and shiplaunched ver­sions.

The Tau­rus KEPD 350E has an op­er­a­tional range of more than 500 km, the long­est in its class. This gives users flex­i­bil­ity, and also in­creases the sur­viv­abil­ity of the launch plat­form. The mis­sile can fly safely at low al­ti­tude thanks to its ex­cel­lent nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem. Com­plex, low-level flight be­hav­iour cou­pled with a stealthy air­frame de­sign make the mis­sile hard to de­tect and de­fend against.

The Tau­rus tan­dem war­head sys­tem weighs 480 kg. It com­prises a shaped pre- charge and pen­e­tra­tor, to de­feat hard­ened and deeply buried tar­gets as well as pro­tected, re­in­forced con­crete struc­tures. The KEPD 350 is an in­tel­li­gent stand- off mis­sile with a layer- count­ing and void- sens­ing fuse that de­lays det­o­na­tion by sens­ing empty space so the war­head ex­plodes only when it ac­cu­rately pen­e­trates a tar­get. Be­cause it has a pre­frag­mented war­head the Tau­rus can also be pro­grammed to at­tack area tar­gets such as air­fields, air de­fence sys­tems, mis­sile bat­ter­ies and even ships in harbour.

The nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem of the Tau­rus KEPD 350E is one of its most im­por­tant fea­tures. Known as TriTec, it con­sists of IBN ( im­age- based nav­i­ga­tion), TRN ( ter­rain- ref­er­enced nav­i­ga­tion) and MIL-GPS (mil­i­tary Global Po­si­tion­ing Sys­tem), which are sup­ported by INS (In­er­tial Nav­i­ga­tion Sys­tem). IBN utilises aerial/satel­lite im­age data plus co­or­di­nates of spe­cific re­gions lo­cated along its flight route. Once launched, the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem iden­ti­fies its cur­rent lo­ca­tion by scan­ning the ter­rain with its IR seeker. It com­pares the re­sults with the im­age data and co­or­di­nates loaded into the mis­sile be­fore launch. Most im­por­tantly, the KEPD 350E will nav­i­gate to its tar­get even if one or two of the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems are jammed or made un­avail­able. The mis­sile is not de­pen­dent on GPS, for ex­am­ple, and is ca­pa­ble of ac­cu­rately ad­just­ing its routeto-tar­get de­pend­ing on what nav­i­ga­tion and tar­get data is avail­able on a spe­cific mis­sion. In this way, a sin­gle KEPD 350E can ac­com­plish a mis­sion that would re­quire three to four mis­siles of an­other type.

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