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By Julian Nettlefold

22 Feb 12. Marty Coyne of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control gave an update on the MEADS missile Programme which dispelled the gloom merchant’s views that the project was in effect dead.

MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy and Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States.

“Lockheed Martin has begun integration testing on the third completed Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) battle manager at its facility in Huntsville, Ala. Integration testing on the third battle manager will continue throughout 2012 in support of an air breathing missile intercept test in early 2013 and a ballistic missile intercept later in the year both planned at White Sands Missile Range in 2013. Two other battle managers are already supporting system testing at Pratica di Mare Air Force Base in Italy and Orlando, Florida,” Coyne said.

“Given the adverse press about EADS, could you give us an update on the funding?” The Editor asked.

“In February 2011 Congress stated that no further funding would be given for MEADS, thus Lockheed Martin replanned the Program around $3.4 billion that allows us to continue the demonstration and capability phase of the system. Secretary Panetta released $400 million in funding for FY13, 25% of which has been released. Both our partners in Germany and Italy have stated that they will do everything to secure final funding, we remain

“What are the technology advantages of MEADS over Patriot and other systems?”

“Following the successful first MEADS flight test in November, the team continues to evolve MEADS’ battle management software and the plug-and-fight network, demonstrating coverage and flexibility that other systems cannot provide, including a 360-degree defense that protects our warfighters against next-generation threats. We have now demonstrated the ability of the system to fire a 360 degree missile intercept, this is a unique capability allowed by the new 360-degree Fire Control Radar being developed by all three partners. The other benefit is the lightweight launcher that weighs 50,000lbs and thus allows three launchers and 24 missiles to be carried in a C-17.” Marty Coyne said, “The MEADS battle manager controls an advanced network-centric open architecture that allows any combination of sensors and launchers to be organized into a single air and missile defense battle element. Through a capability called plug-and-fight, sensors, shooters or other battle managers act as nodes on the network. From the MEADS battle manager, a commander can add or subtract nodes as the situation dictates without shutting down the system. “

“How much area can be covered by MEADS compared to Patriot?”

“Using its 360-degree defensive capability, the advanced MEADS radars and PAC-3 MSE Missile, MEADS defends up to eight times the coverage area with far fewer system assets and significantly reduces demand for deployed personnel and equipment, which reduces demand for airlift.”

“Can you launch the MEADS missile from the Patriot launcher and can you mix and match the system to add on to existing systems?”

“This is the benefit of MEADS, the systems we have developed can be used as a total MEADS system or added to enhance and improve existing systems such as Patriot. The missile can be fired from an existing Patriot launcher and the addition of our 360-degree radar and the plug-and-fight network will bring that system into the 21st Century.” Coyne concluded.

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