The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has been developed to International Common Operational Requirements that provide system capabilities not met by any fielded systems. MEADS combines the advanced hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE missile, surveillance and fire control sensors, battle management/communication centers, and high-firepower launchers. It provides superior battlefield protection with unprecedented flexibility to protect maneuver forces and to provide homeland defense.
Unlike any deployed system, MEADS destroys medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and aircraft as well as weapons of mass destruction. 360-degree coverage means there are no blind spots against the evolving threat. MEADS defends up to 8 times the coverage area of other systems using far fewer system assets, resulting in dramatic operation and support cost savings.
The MEADS open architecture enables system-of-system integration capabilities that permit operational mission tailoring for homeland defense or defense of maneuver forces. The minimum MEADS engagement capability requires only one launcher, one battle manager, and one Multifunction Fire Control Radar to provide 360-degree defense of troops or critical assets. As more system elements arrive, they automatically and seamlessly join the MEADS network and build out defensive capability.
MEADS is the first air and missile defense (AMD) system that provides continuous on-the-move protection for maneuver forces. MEADS is the only AMD system able to roll off tactical transports and almost immediately begin operations. Truck-mounted MEADS elements drive or roll on and off C-130 and A400M transport aircraft for faster deployment.
Tested and Proven
In November 2013, MEADS became the first AMD system to intercept and destroy two simultaneous targets attacking from opposite directions during a stressing demonstration of its 360-degree capabilities at White Sands Missile Range. The system has tested successfully in all three flight tests.
In July 2014, MEADS completed a comprehensive system demonstration at Pratica di Mare Air Base in Italy. The tests, including operational demonstrations run by German and Italian military personnel, were designed to seamlessly add and subtract system elements under representative combat conditions, and to blend MEADS with other systems in a larger system architecture.
Now a candidate to replace Patriot systems in Germany under the TLVS program, MEADS is also expected to be adopted by the Italian Air Force. In Poland, MEADS is a candidate for the Narew short-range air defense system.