GermanY's defence procurement office (BWB) has awarded Daimler-Benz Aerospace missile subsidiary LFK a contract for the development of the MAW Taurus modular stand-off missile.

The missile, in its basic KEPD 350 version, is armed with a TDW Mephisto kinetic energy penetrator to allow attacks on hardened targets, and is intended to arm the German air force's Panavia Tornados and later the Eurofighter EF2000. Italy, Spain and Sweden have also expressed interest in buying versions of the new missile.

A joint venture, also called Taurus, will now be founded to pursue the programme. Initially this company will be 67%-owned by LFK and 33% by Bofors Missiles, which belongs to the Swedish Celsius Group. According to LFK, industrial participation by Italy and Spain is also possible.

The current contract covers a 42-month programme, including the overall design of the weapon and the construction of 28 test missiles. It also includes the development of the missile structure, modular electronics systems and cost-effective production methods.

The weapon is to have a TriTec navigation system combining waypoints and terrain-following navigation. The missile will also feature an infrared seeker, and it is designed to cruise at low altitude at Mach 0.8.

The contract already includes options for production development and series production, which the customer may opt for later in the development programme.

Source: Flight International