On October 31, 2023, the contract between OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement) and Spanish Missile Systems (SMS) for the HYDEF (Hypersonic Defence Interceptor Study) project was signed in Bonn, Germany.
As first European program for defence against hypersonic threats, the HYDEF project of the consortium around SMS (amongst others Escribano Mechanical & Engineering, GMV and SENER AEROSPACIAL) from Spain and Diehl Defence from Germany was able to clearly position itself by signing the contract with OCCAR. This marks the official start of the project. The consortium consists of 13 companies from seven European nations.
Diehl Defence CEO Helmut Rauch congratulated the project team and announced: "This is an important milestone for the HYDEF project. The realization of tomorrow's air defence, specifically against hypersonic threats, can now begin in Europe."
The Spanish company SMS is responsible for the project management within the HYDEF project. The German system house for air defence systems Diehl Defence, headquartered at Lake Constance, is in charge of the technical implementation from the development of the overall system to the interceptor itself. In the future, the overall system will be able to detect and intercept hypersonic cruise missiles (HCMs) as well as highly agile hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs). All this will be realized through the networking of various, partly space-based sensors and the interceptor system which will be deployed on the basis of existing NATO BMD command and control systems wherever possible. The consortium is optimally qualified to solve this highly complex and multidimensional task of system interconnection.
Diehl Defence can draw on many years of experience and comprehensive know-how in the field of air defence solutions. Among other things, the system leader Diehl Defence together with the partners HENSOLDT and Airbus develops and produces the medium-range ground-based air defence system IRIS-T SLM. The system is being successfully deployed in Ukraine to ensure the protection of the Ukrainian population. Furthermore, Diehl Defence is also a reliable partner of the German Bundeswehr and international armed forces in the field of missiles, ammunition, training and protection systems.
The HYDEF project is based on the successful signing of the contract in July 2022, when the European Commission announced the HYDEF project as the winner of the tender. At that time, the HYDEF project was able to prevail over the competitor and could clearly win the Europe-wide tender. On the German side also HENSOLDT and Airbus are involved as national partners in the HYDEF project. The goal is to expand the technology leadership in Germany and to provide the user with fully accessible, open system elements.
HYDEF is closely linked to the PESCO EU project "Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance" (TWISTER) and deals with the development of an overall endo-atmospheric interceptor concept for air defence. This project is being funded with 100 million euros.