IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


9th January, 2024 Science and Technology


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Pressure is mounting on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to give the green light for long-range Taurus missiles that would be a significant boost to Kyiv's weapons arsenal for striking critical Russian assets far behind the front lines.


  • Germany has previously supported Ukraine by providing military aid, including main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and air-defense systems.
  • However, despite these previous contributions, Germany has yet to approve the supply of the Taurus cruise missiles that Ukraine requested in May 2023.

Strategic Importance of Taurus Missiles

  • Comparable Weapons: The Taurus missiles are similar in capability to other missiles like the British Storm Shadow and French SCALP missiles.
  • Targeting Strategic Infrastructure: Experts suggest that the Taurus, with its improved warhead design, could be particularly effective in targeting critical infrastructure such as the Kerch Bridge, a vital link between Crimea and the Russian mainland.
  • Enhancing Ukraine's Capabilities: Provision of the Taurus missiles could significantly enhance Ukraine's long-range strike capabilities, enabling more effective strikes deep into Russian-held territories from positions outside of Russian air defense ranges.
  • Potential Shift in Conflict Dynamics: This move could potentially influence the dynamics of the conflict, contesting Russian control in Crimea, and potentially altering the strategic balance in favor of Ukraine in the ongoing conflict. 

About the missile

  • The Taurus missile is a highly sophisticated air-launched cruise missile designed and manufactured by Taurus Systems GmbH, a joint venture between MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Saab Dynamics AB.
  • It was developed primarily for the air forces of Germany and Sweden, although it has been exported to other countries as well. 

Design and Development:

  • The Taurus missile was conceptualized in the 1990s as a long-range, precision-guided stand-off weapon capable of striking high-value targets with pinpoint accuracy.
  • The development was a collaborative effort between Germany and Sweden to create a highly advanced air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) suitable for deployment on various aircraft.

Features and Capabilities:

  • Guidance System: The Taurus missile employs an advanced navigation system, utilizing a combination of inertial navigation, GPS, and terrain-reference navigation. This allows it to navigate over long distances with high precision and low observability.
  • Stealth Characteristics: Designed with low observability in mind, the Taurus incorporates stealth features to minimize its radar signature, enhancing its ability to penetrate enemy defenses.
  • Warhead: It is equipped with a variety of warhead options, including a dual-stage blast/penetration warhead, enabling it to effectively engage hardened and high-value targets.
  • Range and Speed: The Taurus missile has a reported operational range of over 500 kilometers (approx. 310 miles) and can fly at subsonic speeds to maintain low observability.


  • Length: Approximately 5.1 meters
  • Wingspan: Roughly 1.43 meters
  • Weight: Around 1,400 kilograms
  • Propulsion: Turbofan engine, providing sustained propulsion throughout the flight.
  • Speed: Subsonic
  • Range: Over 500 kilometers

Deployment and Applications:

  • Aircraft Compatibility: The Taurus missile is designed to be compatible with various aircraft platforms, including the Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Gripen fighter jets.
  • Military Operations: Its primary application is in precision strikes against heavily defended or high-value targets, such as bunkers, command centers, and hardened installations.
  • Export and International Use: The missile has garnered interest from various countries seeking advanced precision strike capabilities, leading to export contracts with other nations beyond its originating partners.


Q. Discuss the potential impacts of supplying advanced military weaponry, such as the Taurus missiles, by Germany to Ukraine on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. (250 Words)