The Council of the European Union approved the Twister multi-role interceptor project that should be implemented within the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). The program, regrouping five European countries, aims at countering the emerging threat of hypersonic weapons.

The Twister (Timely Warning and interception with Space-based monitoring Theater) is an ambitious concept of an endo-atmospheric interceptor able to handle emerging threats such as “manoeuvring ballistic missiles with intermediate ranges, hypersonic or high-supersonic cruise missiles, hypersonic gliders, and more conventional targets such as next-generation fighter aircraft,” according to its manufacturer, the European defense expert MBDA.

The program regroups Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy under the industrial leadership of France. The Twister responds to the emergence of hypersonic weapons being developed by other world powers, such as the Russian Zircon and Kinzhal missiles or the Chinese DF-ZF. 

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China announced on August 5, 2018, it successfully completed the first flight test of newly developed hypersonic flight vehicle also known as the “wave-rider”.
 

“In addressing this capability gap, the interceptor component of the TWISTER project will ultimately become a key element in the contribution made by European countries to NATO’s territorial, population and armed forces defence mission while meeting the European Union’s level of ambition in the field of missile defence,” claims MBDA.

Thanks to its inclusion within the PESCO, the program is now eligible to receive an investment from the European Defense Fund, whose budget for 2021-2027 should amount to €13 billion. It is the second MBDA project supported by the fund, after the Beyond Line Of Sight capability program (BLOS), selected in 2018