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Germany Requests Addition Of Secondary Missile; Accelerates Meads Plug-And-Fight Demonstration


ORLANDO/MUNICH/ROME.- MEADS International (MI) has received a request from the German government to integrate a European air defense missile into the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). The scope of work provides for incorporation of IRIS-T SL (Surface Launched) as a secondary missile, expanding the flexibility of MEADS fire units that will be delivered to Germany.

Based on a European air-to-air missile that uses an imaging infrared seeker, the IRIS-T SL fulfills specific German Air Force requirements within the MEADS program. It will be the first time that one of the MEADS partner nations has chosen to adapt MEADS into a unique configuration.

“The decision to use IRIS-T SL as a secondary missile underscores Germany’s strong commitment to MEADS,” said MI Executive Vice President Klaus Riedel. “Germany will be the first to leverage the strength of the MEADS open architecture design, which allows countries to integrate sensors and shooters of other existing defenses into a robust system-of-systems solution for national air defense.”

Under the requested scope of work, MEADS International would implement an intersystem plug-and-fight capability for IRIS-T SL. The task includes software adaptation to integrate the missile and launcher, and incorporation of the second missile into existing MEADS simulations. Incorporating the missile will not require any redesign of MEADS hardware.

The IRIS-T SL system is based on the concept of the IRIS-T air-to-air missile and complies with German Air Force requirements for a secondary missile for ground-based, medium-range air defense within the trilateral MEADS program. Compared to IRIS-T, IRIS-T SL is equipped with a larger solid-propellant rocket motor, a data link and a nose cone for drag reduction. Via a standardized plug-and-fight data interface, the IRIS-T SL system will be integrated into the MEADS network-based architecture to provide commanders with increased flexibility to dynamically select the optimum missile for a given target.

MEADS, under development by Germany, Italy and the United States, includes a lightweight launcher, 360-degree fire control and surveillance radars, and plug-and-fight battle management command and control abilities not found in current systems. With enhanced mobility and advanced technologies, MEADS will offer Warfighters significant improvements over existing systems. The MEADS baseline interceptor is the Lockheed Martin PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE). The PAC-3 MSE will be effective against the full threat spectrum, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and air-breathing targets.

From the outset of the program, MEADS has been designed to provide capabilities well beyond those of other air and missile defense systems. The MEADS open, netted-distributed architecture permits system elements to “plug and fight” – to join in or break off to protect forces on the move. This architecture will establish the pattern for subsequent 21st century air defense systems and will permit flexible tailoring of battle elements, from early-entry minimum configurations up to multiple-fire-unit battalions for homeland defense or defense of maneuver forces. The design approach emphasizes high firepower and performance, which reduces the number of assets required to defend a given area.MEADS is a mobile air and missile 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 and missile 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 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 signed a definitized contract valued at $2 billion plus €1.4 billion for MEADS design and development. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, FL, MEADS International’s participating companies are MBDA in Italy, LFK in Germany and Lockheed Martin in the United States. Together, these companies have focused 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 funds 58 percent of the MEADS program, and European partners Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively as partners in the NATO Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Organization (NAMEADSMO). Its program management agency NAMEADSMA is located in Huntsville, Alabama.


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