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Ground-launched Kepd350?

Coming in too late for inclusion in our Complete Guide on air-to-ground weapons, an update from Eads confirms that the Taurus Kepd350 programme is on track and includes a photograph showing that production is indeed underway for initial deliveries in November 2004 (some 600 missiles have been ordered by the Luftwaffe to the tune of 570 million [euro]). Perhaps the most intriguing point of a recent Swedish study contract regarding further development of the missile is the mention of a ground-launched version of the bunker-busting missile. No details as to how it could be launched were disclosed--at 1.1 tonne the over five-metre long '350 is a heavy and cumbersome missile--but it would certainly require a serious shove to get off the ground. Rummaging through his personal collection of photographs, Armada's Editor-in-Chief found evidence that Germany had at one time already toyed with the idea of punching heavy aircraft off launch rails in the 1970s, but in the instance of this Starfighter (insert) pictured at Gatow the idea was finally shelved. A host of other improvements included in the contract cover the addition of a bi-directional datalink for the integration of the missile in a network-centric warfare environment, as well as modular mission packages.
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Title Annotation:Digest
Publication:Armada International
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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