Sunday, April 7, 2013

South Korea will buy Taurus KEPD 350 air-to-surface cruise missiles

According to Defense Minister, Kim Kwan-jin, South Korea will buy the Taurus missile and integrate them with the F-15K fighters currently in service. South Korea may buy up to 200 missiles.

South Korea is said to prefer the AGM-158 JASSM from the United States. However, the US is unwilling to sell the JASSM to South Korea causing it to turn to Europe for an alternative.

The Taurus KEPD 350 is a low-flying, long-range, stealthy, highly-accurate cruise missile developed jointly by Germany and Sweden. Its specifications are:
  • a length of 5.1 m
  • a missile diameter of 1.08 m
  • a wingspan of 2.06 m
  • a weight of 1400 kg
  • a warhead of 480 kg
  • a maximum speed of Mach 0.95
  • a maximum range of over 500 km
The missile is powered by a Williams P8300-15 Turbofan from the US.

The Taurus KEPD 350 is designed to penetrate and strike high-value targets against strong air defenses at stand-off ranges. Its mutiple guidance methods makes it highly immune to any jamming environment.

The Multi-Effect Penetrator, HIgh Sophisticated and Target Optimised (MEPHISTO) warhead gives the Taurus KEPD 350 the ability to strike at hardened bunkers buried deep beneath the earth.

Its Programmable Intelligent Multi-Purpose Fuze (PIMPF) gives the KEPD 350 the ability to detonate the penetrator at pre-selected floors within the target through layer counting and void sensing technologies.

This makes the Taurus KEPD 350 suitable against North Korea which has extensive underground facilities. North Korea's hilly landscape is also suited to the terrain hugging flight profile of the Taurus missile.

The Taurus KEPD 350 will complement the existing SLAM-ER, an air-to-surface variant of the Harpoon missile with a range of about 280 km. The missiles were acquired as part of the purchase of 61 F-15K aircraft.

South Korea will also soon decide the winning bidder for the competition to provide 60 new fighter aircraft. The 3 competing candidates are the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-15 Silent Eagle and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

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