Airbus Defence and Space has started flight testing of the Taurus kinetic energy penetration destroyer 350 (KEPD 350) stand-off precision missiles onboard the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft at Manching Military Air Systems Center in Munich, Germany.
Carried out using the instrumented production aircraft 7 (IPA7), the intensive flight test programme will include flutter tests, air data system large store interference assessment and aerodynamic data gathering.
The flight trials follow successful completion of the functional ground tests and taxi tests, and are expected to run concurrent with those of the Storm Shadow in order to optimise the two integration programmes.
Manufactured by Taurus Systems, a joint venture between MBDA Germany and Saab Dynamics, the KEPD 350 is a long-range air-to-surface missile designed to penetrate through dense air defence systems and destroy the hard and deeply buried stationary and semi-stationary military targets on ground.
The high precision stand-off guided missile primarily tackles air base facilities, bunkers, port facilities, command, control and communication stations, ammunition storage facilities, bridges and ships in ports and runways.
Suitable for day and night and all weather deployment, the 1,400kg missile has low observability and terrain masking features for survivability, and carries 481kg of inert multi-effect penetrator, high sophisticated and target optimised (MEPHISTO) dual stage warhead system for superior target penetration.
The missile is in service with the German and Spanish Air Forces, and is also expected to be deployed on Swedish JAS 39 Gripen aircraft.
Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter manufactured by a consortium of EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE for deployment during air operations, including air policing, peace support and high-intensity conflict missions worldwide.
Currently operational with the air forces of Austria, Italy, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia and the UK, the swing role combat aircraft has also been ordered by the Royal Air Force of Oman.
Image: A Typhoon equipped with two Taurus KEPD 350 missiles during testing in Germany. Photo: courtesy of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug.