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Taurus: Would German missile become game changer in war against Russia

Taurus: Would German missile become game changer in war against Russia Taurus missile mounted on an aircraft (photo:

Ukraine officially requested long-range Taurus missiles from Germany a year ago to combat Russian troops. For German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, supplying these missiles remains a red line he does not want to cross.

However, Kyiv has not lost hope and periodically raises the topic of Taurus transfers. How these missiles could aid in the war against Russia and whether they could become game changers on the battlefield is explored in this article by RBC-Ukraine.

The material uses information from open sources.

Taurus for Ukraine: discussions continue

The topic of supplying German cruise missiles to Ukraine is periodically raised by both Kyiv and its allies. In March 2024, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski stated that the delivery of Taurus missiles with a 500 km range would have a "significant impact on Ukraine's ability to defend itself."

"With cruise missiles from other countries, Ukrainians have already convinced the Russians to move their logistics bases, such as ammunition depots, far behind the front lines," the official said.

According to the Polish official, Taurus missiles would help Ukraine push the enemy even further back, deeply into their rear. In parallel with German missiles, Ukraine has long requested their counterparts – such as the Anglo-French Storm Shadow/SCALP or the American NASAMS. Ukraine eventually received both. However, discussions about the supply of Taurus missiles are still ongoing.

Even though the German government may be pushing Scholz to supply the missiles, the chancellor is not ready to change his decision.

"This also applies to the issue of Taurus. Alongside strong support for Ukraine, one thing remains important to me: we will do everything possible to prevent the escalation of the war – in other words, to prevent a war between Russia and NATO," said the German government head.

Missile characteristics

The long-range Taurus missiles are similar in external characteristics to the Storm Shadow and French Scalp-EG – they have similar weight and length. The main differences are inside – the Taurus missile is equipped with an intelligent Mephisto warhead system. Thanks to this system, the warhead does not detonate after a set time. First, the Taurus penetrates layers of material, and the detonator activates when it reaches the optimal spot – this can be programmed. Thus, the missile can cause maximum damage.

The missile is equipped with a turbofan engine, providing greater flight range. It can fly at an altitude of up to 50 meters, evading radar. The maximum range is 500 km, and the warhead weighs 481 kg.

The Taurus system was created by a division of the missile manufacturer MBDA and the Swedish company Saab. Today, the missiles are no longer produced – they are only modernized in the town of Schrobenhausen. Open sources report that each missile costs about 1.5 million euros.

The Taurus missile can easily reach military targets in Russia and hit the front lines – both equipment and gatherings of Russian occupiers. Since Ukraine needs as many missiles as possible, the Taurus would undoubtedly be useful, but the German government seems to be in no hurry to decide on transferring the missiles to Kyiv.

It is worth noting that Bundestag Defense Committee Chairman Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann has called for changing the aforementioned position and providing the missiles to Ukraine, and the CDU/CSU parliamentary group has urged Sunak to pressure Scholz on this issue.