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Partners OK MEADS flight tests
by Staff Writers
Orlando, Fla. (UPI) Jun 22, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

MEADS International reports that partner nations in the new missile system have approved flight test demonstrations of advanced system capability.

The two intercept tests for the Medium Extended Air Defense System were authorized in a revised set of development objectives approved by officials in Germany, Italy and the United States.

MEADS is a mobile air defense system that is intended to replace the Patriot anti-missile missile systems in the United States and the Nike Hercules systems in Italy.

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 is a highly robust and flexible system and that is why it is so important to keep this system moving forward," said MEADS International President David Berganini. "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.

The 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 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.

"Because of its advanced capabilities, there is international interest in MEADS," said NAMEADSMA General Manager Gregory Kee. "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 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 International is a multi-national joint venture with headquarters in Orlando, Fla. It 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 last August 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.

NAMEADSMA has its headquarters in Huntsville, Ala.

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