By Li Cong
Some EU member states have started the research and development of the Hypersonic Missile Interceptor, according to the latest news by Defense News, a US news website.
It is reported that the European Defense Fund (EDF) previously announced the list of the first investment projects totaling 1.2 billion euros. The three-year project aims to establish a complete system including interceptors and sensors and integrate them into the air defense system for early warning, detection and interception of ballistic missiles and hypersonic missiles. At present, Spain's SENER Aeroespacial and Germany's Diehl Defense will serve as the main contractors for the interceptor project.
Analysts pointed out that most of the companies and institutions participating in the interceptor project are from the main research and development forces in the European aerospace industry, which reflects the EU's emphasis on hypersonic weapons. However, the project faces many practical difficulties.
First, the results of cooperation are in doubt. Many weapons and equipment cooperative research and development plans have been proposed from the period of the European Community until the European Union period. However, many were forced to be canceled due to differences of interest. And more participants have led to a higher possibility of project cancellation. The interceptor project involves many EU member states, and different member states have different strategic interests, which will inevitably have an impact on the project's progress. In addition, the different levels and cooperation experiences of the participating institutions and enterprises will also lead to differences in terms of the complex hypersonic missile interceptor technology.
Second, it is difficult to secure funds. Although the project has received 90 percent of the planned funding, it is likely to require continuous additional investment due to the rapid development of hypersonic vehicle technology. Affected by factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in the regional situation, European countries currently have a heavy economic burden, and their economic development is not optimistic. It is a major issue whether they can afford the unplanned investment in the future.
Third, the US may intervene. The EU's research and development of its own hypersonic missile interceptor is of great significance for improving the EU's independence and autonomy and will weaken the strategic influence of NATO and the US in Europe to a certain extent. From its own interests, the US may interfere with the interceptor project from diplomatic and technical levels.
In addition, the EU's eagerness to develop a hypersonic missile interceptor is closely related to the recent changing situations in Europe. The changing situation will add uncertainty to the development of the interceptor project.