MEADS International (MI) has been awarded a $3 billion design and development
letter contract to design and develop the advanced ground-mobile Medium Extended
Air Defense System (MEADS) program.
The letter contract/ Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by
representatives of the United States and Italy. Germany is expected to sign the
agreement following parliamentary approval action before the end of 2004. The
MEADS is a tri-national program aimed at providing advanced, mobile, 360-degree
air defense capability against aircraft and missile threats to the United States
and allied nations.
The MEADS air defense system will provide protection in the full spectrum of
modern warfare scenarios from the battlefield along with maneuver forces to the
homeland defense scenario ranging from point to area protection. MEADS will also
focus on full compatibility with shooters and sensors from other existing weapon
systems. Moreover, the netted-distributed communication system will cost less to
own and maintain than current systems such as Hawk, Nike Hercules and Patriot.
MI was selected in 1999 by NAMEADSMA organization to develop the MEADS air
defense system. MI is a multinational joint venture comprising Lockheed-Martin
(USA), MBDA (Italy), EADS (Germany) and LFK (Germany). The program funding and
work is allocated as follows: USA 58%, Germany 25% and Italy 17%.
The overall MEADS system will require less manpower than existing systems while
providing quick reaction capability, fast moving air defense and air
transportability by medium tactical transport aircraft. The six major equipment
items are: 360-degree coverage Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR);
360-degree surveillance radar; Battle Management, Command, Control,
Communications, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I); the proven hit-to-kill PAC-3
missile round (missile + canister); Launcher and Reloader.
The current MEADS roadmap call for flight tests in the fourth year of
development (2008?) with 10 development/operational test missions, including
live intercepts, already planned. Half of the planned tests include multiple
intercepts, most likely scenario in future warfare. These tests will continue
through the sixth year of development program (2010?). Operational testing and
evaluation, which includes three flight missions, would be carried out the final
customer during the last six months of the program.
The armed forces of Germany and the United States of America will utilize the
MEADS to replace their Patriot battery missile systems. Italy will replace Nike
Hercules air defense systems by MEADS.
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