21 Mar 11. A Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS)launcher and BMC4I Tactical Operations Center (TOC) have entered system test and integration at Pratica di Mare (PdM) Air Force Base in Italy. This milestone marks the first integration tests involving two completed MEADS system elements. During the initial test series, MEADS will demonstrate launcher and TOC functions, including system attachment/detachment in the first demonstration of MEADS plug-and-fight operation. Later addition of the Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR) and a MEADS System Stimulator will enable demonstration of full MEADS system operation during simulated engagements of live target aircraft. After pre-integration at Pratica di Mare, the MEADS system will complete integration at White Sands Missile Range, NM, and begin flight testing in 2012. The lightweight MEADS launcher is easily transportable, is tactically mobile, and capable of rapid reload. It carries up to eight PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Missiles and achieves launch readiness in minimum time. Through improvements in range, interoperability, mobility, and full 360-degree defense capability against the evolving threat, MEADS improves capability to defend troops, friends, and allies in critical areas around the globe. The Battle Management Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I) TOC implements a revolutionary network-centric open architecture that allows any combination of sensors and launchers to be task organized into a single Air and Missile Defense battle element. Through a capability called “plug-and-fight,” sensors, shooters or other TOCs simply act as nodes on the network. From the MEADS Battle Manager, a commander can dynamically add or subtract elements as the situation dictates without shutting the system down.
08 Mar 11. Iran reveals anti-ship ballistic missile. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has started mass production of a recently developed anti-ship ballistic missile, its commander, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, announced on 7 February. “The IRGC’s smart ballistic missiles are now in mass production and this type of missile can hit and destroy targets with high precision,” he stated during a press conference in Tehran. (Source: Jane’s, JMR)
08 Mar 11. Diehl BGT Defence vertically launches two IRIS-T SL missiles. Diehl BGT Defence has successfully conducted two control response firings of its IRIS-T SL surface-to-air missile. These took place in December 2010 but were not announced at that time. (Source: Jane’s, JMR)
22 Mar 11. A Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. joint venture—which dominates rocket manufacturing in the U.S.—has chosen a fledgling Southern California space-tourism company to help develop lower-cost booster engines. Slated to be unveiled Tuesday, the partnership between the large joint venture, called United Launch Alliance, and XCOR Aerospace Inc., a scrappy start-up in Mojave, Calif., represents the kind of innovation in space programs White House officials seek to foster. The anticipated new technology could inject competition into the market for liquid-fueled rocket engines, while giving a boost to the White House’s drive to support novel commercial-space projects. President Barack Obama wants to cut funding for traditional National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs and outsource some core agency functions to private industry, including transporting astronauts to the international space station. NASA chief Charles Bolden has talked about relying on new competitors and technologies to provide game-changing leaps in rocket propulsion. Teaming with closely held XCOR to develop a new upper-stage engine for ULA’s existing Delta IV and Atlas 5 launchers is a way for the established rocket maker to “recognize the value of the newer aerospace companies” and benefit from potentially lower production costs, according to George Sowers, ULA’s vice president of business development an