The Council of the European Union has given missile developer MBDA the green light to develop its Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance (TWISTER) missile defence project.
TWISTER will be developed under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative and five European nations are already involved in the project. MBDA seeks to address a capability gap, developing a next-generation, multi-role endo-atmospheric interceptor – which will be employed in existing and future land and naval systems to combat high-supersonic/hypersonic cruise missiles, intermediate-range ballistic missiles, conventional aircraft (including fifth/sixth-generation types) and hypersonic gliders. MBDA aims for the TWISTER platform to be available by 2030.
Éric Béranger, MBDA's CEO, said: "This next-generation interceptor project provides a unique opportunity for Europeans to converge their efforts in the field of missile defence and to secure sovereignty in an area vital to their strategic autonomy."
"These high-end interceptors are technologically demanding and their development will represent a qualitative leap forward for Europe’s entire missile sector. Our industrial model as a European champion gives us the critical mass necessary to deliver this challenging project through co-operation with our European industrial partners”, he added.
MBDA states that the TWISTER project will enable PESCO member states to "benefit from an operational capability in a class of its own and guarantee their strategic autonomy and freedom of action”. The company also says that TWISTER will be a key contribution by European nations to NATO's territorial, population and armed forces defence mission.
The TWISTER project will now be supported by the European Defence Fund. However, MBDA has been researching the project over the last five years through company-funded studies. The company is using experience of European industrial co-operation to produce a skills and capability-led team through its already established industry partnerships.