The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has been developed to International Common Operational Requirements to provide system capabilities not met by fielded air and missile defense systems.
MEADS incorporates the advanced hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE missile, surveillance and fire control sensors, battle management/communication centers, and high-firepower launchers. It combines superior battlefield protection with unprecedented flexibility that allows it to protect maneuver forces and to provide homeland defense.
Unlike Patriot, or any other deployed system, the mobile air defense system will be able to destroy all incoming tactical or medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, or aircraft as well as weapons of mass destruction. MEADS provides vastly greater firepower, combat-proven hit-to-kill technology, 360-degree radar coverage, and a plug-and-fight battle management network architecture.
Now a candidate to replace Patriot systems in Germany under the TLVS program, MEADS meets the “capabilities oriented” requirements of Germany’s air defense concept. MEADS is also expected to be adopted by the Italian Air Force.
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 and missile defense system able to roll off tactical transports with the troops and almost immediately begin operations. More importantly, its open architecture will provide for 21st century air and missile 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.
In May 2005, MEADS International (MI) signed a definitized contract valued at $3.4 billion for MEADS design and development. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, FL, MI’s participating companies are MBDA Italia, MBDA Deutschland, and Lockheed Martin in the United States. Together, these companies created an international engineering team in Orlando to develop systems and technologies for the MEADS program, which is closely watched as a model for collaborative transatlantic development. The United States funded 58 percent of the MEADS program, and European partners Germany and Italy provided 25 percent and 17 percent respectively.