18/10/2011 by Armed Forces International's Aviation Expert
MBDA has pitched its Taurus air-launched cruise missile to the Indian Air Force, for possible integration onto its Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighter fleet.
Produced through a collaboration involving MBDA/EADS' LFK and Saab, the Taurus Systems KEPD 350 design has a 300+ kilometre range and features a low-observable profile, making it appear ‘stealthy' on radar.
In operational use since 2005, the Taurus is equipped with the MEPHISTO (Multi-Effect Penetrator, High Sophisticated, Target Optimised) warhead and it typically flies at low-level, up to 40 metres above the ground, before striking targets such as deeply-submerged, underground structures.
Its high-precision strike capability comes courtesy of its Tri-Tec navigation package, comprised of a radar altimeter, an imaging infrared seeker and a GPS-based inertial navigation system.
Taurus Cruise Missile
The Taurus cruise missile presently equips both the Spanish and the German air forces and can be carried by a range of fighter jets, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. Deliveries of the Taurus missile to these two air forces were completed in August and December 2010, respectively.
In early 2010, Indian unveiled plans to spend $50bn on defence between then and 2015, with combat aircraft, helicopter and transport aircraft acquisitions all to play a part. The Indian Air Force is also modernising some of its in-service equipment and, for the Sukhoi Su-30MKIs, this means upgraded avionics and weapons.
Indian Taurus Missile Pitch
"We have received Request for Information from the IAF for a stand-off long range missile...and we have offered the Taurus missile as we feel that it meets all the desired requirements", the systems' business development manager, Anders Axebark, was quoted as having said by local media sources in a statement on the Indian Taurus missile pitch.
He added that MBDA representatives have already been discussing the Taurus missile's operational benefits with Indian military officials and that, next month, the German Air Force will demonstrate its capabilities for their benefit.
While the Taurus is an air-launched missile, there's also a ground-launched variant and, alongside the main bid, there's a sub-bid in progress, with this being offered to the Indian Army.
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