It seems that Germany will cross another "red line" and send long-range Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.
The government of the Federal Republic of Germany intends to announce the supply of long-range German-Swedish cruise missiles Taurus to Ukraine in the near future. This was reported on August 10 by the news portal t-online with reference to sources in the ruling coalition.
A day earlier, the authoritative weekly Der Spiegel published information that the Federal Chancellor's office has been intensively studying the issue for several weeks. In particular, on the instructions of Olaf Scholz, the Bundeswehr, through its closed channels, addressed the manufacturers of this equipment with a proposal to include an appropriate restriction on the target programming of the missile and to develop a modification in an accelerated mode in order to exclude the possibility of Ukraine striking Russian territory within its old borders. Such an option, experts say, is possible, but it will take several weeks.
The missile was developed by Taurus Systems GmbH. It is a joint venture of the German MBDA Deutschland and the Swedish Saab Bofors Dynamics AB. Essentially, the missile is a formidable modern weapon with a range of up to 500 kilometers. For comparison, the British Storm Shadow and French SCALP have a maximum range of 300 km.
Over the past two decades, many modifications of the Taurus have been developed. There are lightweight versions with a range of 150 km and 350 km. Initially, it was an air-to-surface missile. Now it can be launched not only from a bomber, but also dropped from a conventional transport aircraft. Now, there is a modification designed to be launched from a transport and launch container using an integrated starting accelerator from land and surface carriers. That is, from a military truck or ship. This distinguishes Taurus from its French-British counterparts, which are used from a specially equipped combat aircraft. In Ukraine, this is done with the Su-24 frontline bomber. And according to Western estimates, the UAF has no more than a dozen of them left.
Several other characteristics of this munition can be cited. The missile is not fast, with a speed of up to 0.8M (about 800 km/h), but the lack of supersonic speed is compensated for by the ability to fly at low and ultra-low altitudes along the entire route. Here is another example: the use of TRN and IBN autonomous guidance systems allows the missile to be used without the support of satellite guidance systems. Accordingly, there are no problems with the enemy's electronic warfare systems, which can jam satellite signals and disrupt the navigation system.
Let's finish with the technical details at this point and move on to other issues.
About 600 Taurus were purchased for the Bundeswehr 10 years ago. 150 of them are in working condition, the rest are stored in army warehouses. There is no data on their modifications. In any case, the potential for supply (including, for the Pentagon) is great - 300-400 pieces. I should note that each one costs on average about one million dollars.
Kiev sent a request for these missiles back in May.
The chancellor is clearly oriented towards Washington in terms of heavy weapons transfers. Scholz, according to German experts, will delay Taurus deliveries until the Yankees supply Kiev with ATACMS operational-tactical missile systems with a range of up to 300 kilometers and costing three million bucks apiece.
Another snag is that German servicemen, in his opinion, cannot aim missiles at targets instead of UAF soldiers, as this would be tantamount to taking part in combat operations against Russia. And the issue of training Ukrainians to operate the new equipment is still open.
At the same time, against the background of the actual failure of the UAF offensive, the head of the Berlin cabinet is under unprecedented pressure from parliamentary parties. Moreover, not only are the "Greens" and the liberals in the ruling coalition and the opposition conservatives literally demanding that the Taurus be sent, but also a number of deputies from his own SPD.
Thus, the head of the Bundestag's defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), bluntly stated: "Ukraine urgently needs Taurus. And it is time to give the green light." And added: "I am very annoyed that we are once again having a discussion very reminiscent of the debate about the supply of Leopards."
Indeed, as for the sending of heavy tanks, the hesitant and cautious Scholz had a real withdrawal. First he said "no", after a visit to Washington, he promised to "think about it", and finally, he finished with "Jawohl". I can't wait to add it: ... mein Führer.
Until recently, Scholz and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius have consistently emphasized that they see a German role in helping Kiev with air defense and supplying tanks. But not in sending cruise missiles. Now the tone is changing.
In German, there is an interesting word - Jein (a conglomeration of Ja and Nein). Google translates it as "neither yes nor no". More accurately, in my opinion, it would be a little different: "Rather yes than no."
That's the kind of political leadership Germany has now - Jain style. Remember the story of the "cats". When the withdrawal was over, Scholz began to literally demand Leopards from other members of the "tank coalition". First, several modern Leopard 2A6 were shipped to Ukraine. And when they began to burn in the steppes of Ukraine, Berlin switched to the outdated Leopard 1 bought from a Belgian private arms company and decommissioned by the Bundeswehr back in 2010.
So, the UAF is unlikely to wait for the best version of the Taurus.