Germany’s Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, has reaffirmed the country’s hesitation in sending Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported that he has not completely ruled out the possibility of supplying these weapons in the future. Pistorius emphasized that Germany’s current focus lies in providing Ukraine with air defense systems, training support, engineering, and armored vehicles. These areas are considered their top priority and core competence. As such, the decision regarding the supply of cruise missiles is not seen as an urgent matter at this time. The governing coalition in Germany remains divided on whether to proceed with the shipment of cruise missiles. Marcus Faber, a defense policy expert from the pro-business FDP party, has expressed support for supplying the missiles.
The Taurus KEPD 350 is an advanced air-launched cruise missile jointly developed by Sweden and Germany. It is utilized by several countries, including Germany, Spain, and South Korea. With a turbofan engine operating at Mach 0.95, the missile can be deployed by various fighter jets such as the Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon, Gripen, F/A-18, and F-15K. Its 480-kilogram dual-stage warhead, known as MEPHISTO, is designed to penetrate hardened underground bunkers with precision detonation control. In addition to its offensive capabilities, the Taurus cruise missile is equipped with self-defense measures and electronic countermeasures for added protection. It navigates using a combination of inertial navigation systems, image-based navigation, terrain-referenced navigation, and GPS, ensuring accurate target acquisition and penetration.
600 ordered for the German Air Force’s Panavia Tornados at a cost of €570 million. Deliveries ended in December 2010. The missile’s advanced features allow it to operate effectively even over long distances without GPS support. The missile boasts stealth technology and has an official range exceeding 500 kilometers. In May 2023, the German Federal Ministry of Defence said that Ukraine had requested the missile, as part of Germany’s package of support to Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. In interviews in June and July 2023, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius said that Germany would not supply Ukraine with long-range missiles. In conclusion, Germany is currently focused on supporting Ukraine with air defense and other critical military aid, while the decision to supply cruise missiles remains a topic of ongoing debate within the country’s government.