MEADS Partner Nations Approve Flight Test Demonstrations of Advanced System Capability
ORLANDO/MUNICH/ROME, 06/21/2011 --
The National Armaments Directors of Germany, Italy and the United States have approved a revised set of development objectives for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program, including two intercept flight tests by 2014.
The refocused development program ensures that key national technologies will be demonstrated and that MEADS will readily mature into the advanced and effective terminal-phase air and missile defense system specified by Germany and Italy, and a viable option for U.S. procurement.
MEADS International (MI) President David Berganini said, "MEADS is a highly robust and flexible system, and that is why it is so important to keep this system moving forward. For example, with just a battle manager, launcher and fire control radar, MEADS provides full 360-degree protection against evolved threats at longer range than any system available today. Additionally, plug-and-fight capability lets other assets seamlessly join the network."
MEADS is designed to provide full 360-degree protection and to defeat the emerging threat spectrum. It can defend up to eight times the coverage area of current sectored systems while using far fewer system assets. This allows for a substantial reduction in deployed personnel and equipment, with less demand for airlift, which significantly reduces overall system operation and support costs.
The revolutionary network-centric battle manager allows any combination of sensors and launchers to form an Air and Missile Defense battle element for specific mission objectives. Through this capability, MEADS can become the hub for national air and missile defense networks.
MEADS International, the MEADS prime contractor, worked with its NATO MEADS Management Agency (NAMEADSMA) customer to define and prioritize program objectives within authorized funding. By 2014, MI will finalize and demonstrate the MEADS system design and capabilities through modeling, demonstrations and three flight tests with two being intercepts. The scope adds nation-unique follow-on activities to complete system development.
NAMEADSMA General Manager Gregory Kee said, "Because of its advanced capabilities, there is international interest in MEADS. In budget-constrained times, nations need a capability that is modern, operationally more capable than existing systems, and with reduced manning requirements and lower operational costs. MEADS will offer the most advanced terminal-phase air and missile defense technology available at the conclusion of this revised design and development program."
To support final system integration and flight test activities, MI has taken ownership of facilities at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Test personnel will move onto the range in May to implement the development test program.
MEADS incorporates the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE Missile in a system that includes 360-degree radars, netted-distributed battle management/communication centers and high-firepower launchers. The system design combines superior battlefield protection with extensive flexibility, allowing it to protect forces and critical assets against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft.
MEADS also provides an open architecture for 21st century air and missile defense system-of-system integration capabilities that allow operational mission-tailoring. MEADS is designed to provide greater firepower with less manpower than current systems, producing dramatic operation and support cost savings.
MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy, LFK in Germany and Lockheed Martin in the United States.
The program completed Critical Design Review in August 2010 and has entered the proof of concept test phase that will culminate in two intercept flight tests. Under the Design and Development Memorandum of Understanding, the United States funds 58 percent of the program, and European partners Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively as partners in the NATO Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Organization (NAMEADSMO). Its program management agency NAMEADSMA is located in Huntsville, Ala.