At the ILA Berlin Air Show this week, MBDA and Lockheed Martin business leaders are marking 10 years of industrial cooperation on the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). MEADS is a tri-national partnership between Lockheed Martin in the United States and MBDA in Germany and Italy.
Ten years ago, the partner nations awarded a $3.4 billion contract to MEADS International representing the nations’ commitment to the development of the next-generation air and missile defense (AMD) system.
Today, a mature MEADS has successfully completed all three of its flight tests, including a first-ever 360-degree dual intercept of tactical ballistic missile and air-breathing targets approaching from opposite directions. No other ground-mobile AMD system has demonstrated this capability. A comprehensive MEADS demonstration is scheduled in July in Italy, during which new battle management capabilities will be shown to military leaders.
“The collaboration between MBDA in Germany and Italy and Lockheed Martin in the U.S. demonstrates the power of world-class engineering to solve problems warfighters have identified with current systems,” said Rick Edwards, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “MEADS is the most versatile, mobile and capable AMD system available today.”
Developed to replace the Patriot system, MEADS capabilities meet future German, Italian and U.S. air defense requirements for NATO operations. The ground-mobile AMD system incorporates 360-degree radars, networked battle management, easily transportable launchers and the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE Missile to defeat the entire threat spectrum, including cruise missiles, tactical ballistic missiles and air-breathing threats. To reduce support costs, MEADS is designed to use half the manpower and less maintenance than current systems. To better ensure the safety of allied pilots, MEADS incorporates a sophisticated Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe subsystem.
“MEADS represents the most advanced and most capable AMD system, designed and developed to meet current and future warfighters’ requirements,” said MBDA Germany Managing Director Thomas Homberg. “It is essential to benefit from significant investments made by all three nations and to best use the developed system capabilities. MBDA Germany, Airbus Defence and Space, Lockheed Martin and MBDA Italy are fully committed and ready to support Germany in establishing its next-generation AMD system, as well as for other interested nations like Italy and Poland.”
German industry is playing a vital role in the MEADS program. MBDA Germany is significantly involved in the development and integration of Battle Manager Battle Management Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I) software as well as in the development and integration of the Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR). This also includes work with Airbus to incorporate highly advanced radar modules. Also, the lightweight MEADS launcher was developed, assembled and tested by a product team working at MBDA Germany. As part of the know-how transfer from the U.S. to Germany, agreed to under the MEADS program, work started at the beginning of February 2014 on the installation of the System Integration Laboratory (SIL) on-site at Schrobenhausen. This, in conjunction with the potential link to the Freinhausen test centre, will provide MBDA Germany with special systems competencies in the air defense field.
MEADS incorporates proven capabilities and is ready to replace aging Patriot systems around the world as nations turn to networked, mobile, 360-degree defense. MEADS is being offered for Poland’s Shield of Poland medium-range air defense system. MEADS is also an important next-generation product enabling German industry to preserve and leverage expertise in AMD.
About Lockheed Martin and MBDA:
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.
With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2013 MBDA achieved a turnover of 2.8 billion euros with an order book of 10.8 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is jointly held by AIRBUS Group (37.5%), BAE SYSTEMS (37.5%) and FINMECCANICA (25%).