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The European Union Kickstarts its Hypersonic Missile Defence Interceptor Programme (EU HYDEF)

Written by Alec Janssens

On the 20th of July 2022, the European Commission finally approved the plans to invest nearly €100 million for the development of the concept phase of the European Hypersonic Defence Interceptor Programme, also known as the EU HYDEF. As war has regretfully returned to the European continent, this €100 million investment is the largest grant in a €1.2 billion investment round in 61 European collaborative defence research and development projects. The programme has a projected duration of 36 months. According to the EDF’s factsheet on the EU HYDEF, the main aim of the project is to develop an adequate European interceptor which is capable of achieving the highest manoeuvrability and capability to respond to high velocity threats from 2035 onwards.

The EU HYDEF is closely related to the Permanent Structured Cooperation’s (PESCO) Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance (TWISTER) Programme, which “aims at strengthening the ability of Europe to better detect, track, and counter air threats and missiles through a combination of enhanced capabilities for space-based early warning and endo-atmospheric interceptors.” The TWISTER programme is under the coordination of France, in cooperation with Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain (PESCO, 2022).