Europe's Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile is to receive enhanced capabilities through the installation of an advanced datalink developed by Israel's Tadiran Spectralink to be supplied under a recent contract worth $30 million.

The datalink will enhance the missile's capabilities by adding the capability for after-launch trajectory corrections, and will also enable aircrew to verify target identity before impact if the missile is equipped with a TV camera.

The Israeli capability will be offered as an option to launch customer the German air force and to more countries that show interest in the missile, says Tadiran Spectralink president Yitzhak Beny. Possible customers for the more than 350km (190nm)-range weapon include Australia, Spain and Sweden. The last of these recently completed flight testing of the KEPD350 in its JAS39 Gripen multirole fighter (Flight International, 16-22 December 2003).

Tadiran Spectralink's new datalink is also being evaluated by additional manufacturers of stand-off missiles, says Beny. "We are very active in the USA, and I am confident that soon we will supply the datalink to other European missiles," he adds, while refusing to name candidate weapon types for the system.

Taurus Systems declines to comment on the award, but confirms that it has an existing co-operation agreement with Tadiran Spectralink.

Germany will acquire 600 KEPD350s under a €570 million ($720million) contract awarded to the EADS-LFK/Saab Bofors Dynamics joint venture in 2002. First deliveries of the weapon are expected later this year. Intended for use against fixed infrastructure targets, the weapon will be integrated with German air force Panavia Tornados and Eurofighter Typhoons.

Source: Flight International