Anyone who thinks “Taurus” is the silver bullet against Putin is forgetting a crucial detail

Anyone who thinks "Taurus" is the silver bullet against Putin is forgetting a crucial detail

Kiev wants the Bundeswehr’s “Taurus” cruise missile – it is intended to break the current stalemate on the eastern Ukraine front. The advantage of the cruise missile: it can fly up to 500 kilometers, so the Ukrainian air force could hit strategically important targets in Crimea or Donbass from a safe distance.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stressed the importance of long-range missiles, especially Taurus and ATACMS, for Ukraine’s success. The aim is to use these weapons to destroy the Russian logistical infrastructure and cut off supplies to the front in order to force the Russians to retreat.

But a look at history makes hope fade – the Ukrainians lack the decisive means for the success of the marching body.

Long range and destructive power

The Taurus cruise missile is capable of flying hundreds of kilometers and destroying well-secured installations, including bunkers and ammunition dumps. The Bundeswehr also describes the “Taurus KEPD-350” as “one of the most modern missiles in the Luftwaffe”. With a range of up to 500 kilometers, the missile can attack important targets from a great distance. The pilots do not have to penetrate enemy airspace.

Equipped with its own engine and four independent navigation systems, the Taurus can fly under enemy radar at an altitude of less than 50 meters, making it difficult for enemy anti-aircraft defenses to hit.

Western tanks didn’t stand a chance against Russian fortifications

However, it is questionable whether “Taurus” will make a breakthrough in Ukraine. After all, other high-tech weapons have made little progress in recent months. Renowned defense analyst Stephen Biddle writes in Foreign Affairs that high-tech weaponry has not revolutionized war as expected. The course of the front has been almost unchanged for about a year.

Progress maps from the US think tank Institute for the Study of War also show that the Russian side was able to strengthen its fortifications in Ukraine. The Russian defense systems consisting of bunkers, trenches and mines stop the advance of the Ukrainians. German Leopard 2 tanks are also destroyed in the process. However, some Western weapons, such as recon drones combined with precision artillery, have transformed artillery duels.

Western weapons designed for combined combat

But there is a challenge associated with the western supply of weapons that also affects “Taurus”: The weapons supplied by the west were designed for combined combat during the Cold War. According to information from “Welt”, the developers of the Leopard 2 assumed that it would be escorted by Cheetah anti-aircraft tanks to protect against threats from helicopters and, more recently, drones.

In addition, according to information from “Welt”, the USA has been planning with air superiority on the battlefield since 1944. However, Ukraine does not have all the means for this type of warfare.

The delivery of the “Taurus” cruise missile to Ukraine could therefore possibly not change the course of the war as a whole, because the delivery of individual systems does not seem to be very effective. However, according to Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Chairwoman of the Defense Committee of the German Bundestag, the “Taurus” cruise missiles are “another important support in the fight against the ongoing brutal Russian attacks on the Ukrainian civilian population”. The Federal Chancellery is therefore “requested not to hesitate again”.

However, it remains questionable whether these types of weapons alone can make the hoped-for difference.



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