EADS has successfully completed penetration testing of the Taurus Systems KEPD 350 stand-off weapon's Mephisto warhead at the German Federal Armed Forces Technical Centre at Meppen. Meanwhile, a second free flight of the weapon system was recently completed using an unarmed KEPD 350.

The manufacturer says the Mephisto test was an oblique shot against a bunker protected by three layers of reinforced concrete, which was fully penetrated.

The warhead is equipped with an intelligent fuse system to detect the layers of the target, and generate a triggering signal for detonation of the main warhead at a pre-set point after penetration of the final layer.

"The successful tests will now be followed by component and system qualification for completion by the end of 2001," says Werner Kaltenegger, managing director of Mephisto designer TDW, a subsidiary of EADS. Taurus Systemsis a joint venture between EADS unit LFK and Saab-Bofors Dynamics. Mephisto is a tandem warhead with a nose-mounted, shaped-charge and penetrator equipped with a programmable fuse system to attack a range of surface and underground targets.

The second free flight test of the KEPD 350 was over northern Sweden, where the modular stand-off missile was released from a Tornado under-fuselage hardpoint. The aircraft was flying at Mach 0.7 and at 3,000ft (915m).

New subsystems tested included guidance and control hardware, and software modules for "tri-technology" navigation, with inertial navigation, satellite global positioning, terrain following and infrared waypoint systems. At the end of the flight, the missile executed a "pop-up" attack manoeuvre and impacted the target.

Source: Flight International