Explosive Leak: German Military Discusses Striking Crimea’s Kerch bridge with Taurus Missiles

Germany Investigates Leaked Military Talks on Arming Ukraine with Taurus Missiles.

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Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna is a Defence & Aerospace analyst and is the Director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany with manufacturing units in Russia. He is Consulting Editor Industry and Defense at Frontier India.

Russia Today’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, posted a full transcript of the discussion among senior German air force officials about missile strikes with Taurus missiles on the Crimean Bridge on the Russian Social media platform VKontakte. According to her, the discussion took place on February 19. During the conversation, the military discussed the delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine. 

The audio recording excerpt showcases German Air Force representatives engaging in a discussion regarding the optimal number of Taurus missiles needed to launch an assault on the Crimean Bridge and the viability of such an attempt. The dialogue took place among the following individuals: 

Brigadier General of the Bundeswehr Air Force Frank Grefe, Head of the Operations and Exercises Department of the Air Force Command; 

Lieutenant General of the Bundeswehr Air Force, Ingo Gerhartz, the 16th Inspector of the Air Force;

Stefan Fenske, an employee of the Bundeswehr Space Command’s Air Operations Centre; 

And Frostedt, an employee of the aforementioned department.

Evidence indicates that the tape of a conversation between four German officers, published on March 1, is legitimate. This was reported in the German publication Bild.

According to the publication’s assessment, the audio tape was likely not fabricated. However, the German government has yet to acknowledge the existence of such a communication.

Bild claims that the chat occurred as part of the preparations for a government briefing.

According to Grefe, if the decision is made, they will be ready to use in eight months. In addition, it will take six months to manufacture missile mounts and three to four months to train people.

The German Ministry of Defence has voiced deep worry about the surfacing of a recording in Russian media. According to Der Spiegel, the German Defence Ministry does not rule out spying on internal communication lines or intercepting conversations between the ministry and the Air Force.

According to the magazine, Germany’s Federal Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) has launched an investigation. However, there is suspicion that the Russians intercept internal communication channels in the Air Force, Bundeswehr, or perhaps the German Ministry of Defence. The German Ministry of Defence has declined to make any detailed comments.

Following an initial review of the recording of the conversation between German military personnel at the German Defence Ministry, the publication concludes that it is authentic. According to the first findings, using artificial intelligence (AI) forgeries is virtually ruled out. The initial analysis of the video suggests that the German Air Force officers were reckless in their talk. Their virtual meeting occurred on WebEx, a relatively easy platform to eavesdrop on, rather than a secure line.

What is in the recording?

The discussion centres on the probable sale of Taurus missiles from Germany to Ukraine. Defence Minister Pistorius intends to thoroughly investigate this matter, with a meeting planned to address it further. However, there appears to be no clear schedule or decision from the Chancellor to provide these missiles. 

Gerhartz is frustrated by erroneous rumours, such as allegations that the Taurus missiles would not work, which he dismisses as rubbish. He wants to work with Grefe, Frostedt, and Fenske to ensure they agree on this difficult issue. 

  1. Grefe identifies three main issues with probable Taurus missile deliveries: 
  2. Due to the necessary preparations, any transferred missiles may not be operational for up to 8 months.
  3. Manufacturer participation is important for equipping, rearming, and delivering the missiles. Costs must be determined.
  4. Platform integration entails determining which weapon systems the missiles will be mounted on and how to promote cooperation between the manufacturer and Ukraine.
  5. A three to four-month training period will be necessary, possibly using British expertise and resources.

Fenske comments on the training component, expecting a shorter 7-8 week timetable if Ukrainian staff already have suitable certifications. However, he warns of the political sensitivity surrounding direct German engagement in battle preparation. 

Gerhartz advises that Ukrainians travel to Germany for training to prevent the appearance of German people being overly embedded in Ukraine. He feels that a shortened training period focused on smaller targets, such as ammunition depots, could produce faster results initially. 

There is a discussion on information sharing, including suggestions to route communications to keep some distance. Grefe emphasises the need to start simple and gradually add complexity. 

Gerhartz wishes to deliver serious judgements without inflaming the issue, as other countries provide missiles. He aims to test out possibilities before advising legislators, noting that there are “red lines” regarding the amount of German participation. 

The longer the decision takes, the longer the possible delays in implementation. Budget problems for infrastructure enhancements at Buchel Air Base loom if the missile issue hinders work. 

In summary, the discussion delves into the intricacies, risks, and political minefields of potentially arming Ukraine with German Taurus missiles in the context of expanding engagement in the conflict.

Weapon System, Transport, Modification

The following facts about weapon systems and tactics were discussed:

There are issues with escalating costs for converting infrastructure for the F-35 in Buchel.

The British always transport Storm Shadow missiles in Ridgback armoured vehicles. They’ve got people on the ground. The British were present in Ukraine and equipped the aircraft.

The French supplied the Q7 with Scalp missiles to Ukraine. 

Taurus Systems GmbH (TSG), the missile’s manufacturer, can place it on a Sukhoi or an F-16 within six months.

Taurus Missile launch involves databases, satellite imagery, and planning stations.


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