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MEADS International Awarded $3 Billion System Development Contract

MEADS protects maneuver forces and critical installations against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Orlando FL (SPX) Sep 28, 2004
MEADS International received a $3 billion Design and Development letter contract to design and develop the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). The contract was awarded by NAMEADSMA, a chartered organization of NATO, to develop MEADS.

The contract award follows a series of successful system demonstrations and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Italy to develop the advanced ground-mobile air and missile defense system. Germany is expected to sign the agreement following parliamentary action later this year.

"The day that air defenders have been waiting for has arrived," said Jim Cravens, MEADS International president. "This contract commits the partner nations to a significant new generation of air and missile defense that will cost far less to own and maintain, quickly moves to the areas it must protect and provides complete 360-degree defense with netted-distributed communication. Through plug-and-fight capabilities, MEADS will also provide command and control over existing shooters and sensors from other weapon systems.

"We've listened to our customers and users, and now we'll build the air and missile defense solution they've asked us for," Cravens said.

MEADS is being developed in accordance with International Common Operational Requirements that call for capabilities not met by current systems. MEADS incorporates the proven hit-to-kill PAC-3 missile in a system that includes 360-degree surveillance and fire control sensors, netted- distributed battle management/communication centers and high-firepower launchers.

The system combines superior battlefield protection with unprecedented flexibility, allowing it to protect maneuver forces and to provide homeland defense against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft. A key capability is MEADS' ability to kill weapons of mass destruction carried on stressing tactical ballistic missiles.

MI Executive Vice-President Axel Widera noted, "This contract marks an exciting new program phase and a new level of cooperation among our nations. We are proud of the trust that Germany, Italy and the United States have placed in us to put a significantly advanced air and missile defense system into the hands of each nation's air defenders.

"We will continue to demonstrate the benefits that Europe and the United States gain by working closely together to solve national defense needs -- interoperability, reduced cost and better systems," Widera added.

Under the D&D program, MI will finalize designs for equipment and complete integration into the 21st century air and missile defense system. The system's six major equipment items are: Multifunction Fire Control Radar; Surveillance Radar; Battle Management, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (BMC4I); Certified Missile Round (PAC-3 Missile and canister); Launcher and Reloader.

After extensive system simulation and hardware-in-the-loop testing, the system will begin flight tests in the fourth year with 10 developmental test/operational test missions that include planned intercepts. Half of these tests include multiple intercepts. The comprehensive series of flight and ground system development tests will run through the sixth year. Operational testing, including three flight missions, will be conducted by the customer during the last six months of the program.

In May 2004, MI successfully demonstrated technical progress of the MEADS prototype hardware and software under control of the system's battle management prototype. MEADS successfully demonstrated its ability to acquire, track and intercept live targets using simulated PAC-3 hit-to-kill missiles. The demonstration fulfilled expectations that system development issues had been addressed and cleared the way for the D&D contract award.

In Orlando, MI will significantly expand its technical employment as a result of the contract. The MEADS program will also expand at EADS/LFK, Lockheed Martin and MBDA-Italia locations that currently participate in development of the advanced air and missile defense system. Lockheed Martin will perform contract work at its locations in Orlando, FL; Dallas, TX; Huntsville, AL; and Syracuse, NY.

EADS/LFK will perform work on the BMC4I, launcher, Surveillance Radar and MFCR elements at plants in Munich, Germany. MBDA-Italia will perform work on the BMC4I and MFCR in Rome, Italy. The development work will be allocated in accordance with national funding. The United States funds 58 percent of the MEADS program and European partners Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively.

MEADS is a mobile air defense system designed to replace Patriot systems in the United States and Germany and Nike Hercules systems in Italy. It also meets the requirements of Germany's "capabilities oriented" air defense concept.

MEADS will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operations and once there, will keep pace with fast-moving maneuver forces.

When completed, MEADS will be the only air defense system able to roll off tactical transports with the troops and immediately begin operations. More importantly, its open architecture will provide for 21st century air defense system-of-system integration capabilities that allow operational mission- tailoring for homeland defense or defense of maneuver forces. MEADS will also provide greater firepower with less manpower than current systems, producing dramatic operation and support cost savings.

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