PRNewswire — The National Armaments Directors of Germany, Italy and the United States have approved a revised set of development objectives for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program, including two intercept flight tests by 2014.
The international consortium developing the $3.4 billion Meads air and missile defense program for the U.S., Germany and Italy says it could sign on a fourth foreign partner by next year, according to a senior executive with the Lockheed Martin-led group.
The U.S. last month said it would stop funding the U.S.-European Medium Extended Air Defense System, or Meads, after fiscal 2013, calling it unaffordable in the current budget climate. Germany issued a similar statement, but it has also said itis open to fielding a Meads-derived missile defense system pending the outcome of the development program.
The U.S administration’s unilateral cancellation of the $4.2 billion Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program dealt a blow to trans-Atlantic cooperation, Executive Chairman Antoine Bouvier of European missile maker MBDA said March 15.
The U.S. decision to pull out of MEADS “surprised and disappointed me,” Bouvier said, as he announced MBDA’s 2010 results at a press conference.
In a move that jeopardizes local high-tech work potentially worth billions of dollars, the Pentagon has pulled the plug on production money for an advanced missile-defense program based at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando.
The Pentagon said recently it would not spend any more money on the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, once the current development work is completed in 2013. That work alone is projected to cost more than $800 million; billions more would be needed to manufacture the systems.
The MDA and the Army have punted the decision on transferring management of the MEADS project to the MDA. The Army wants to dump the system, citing cost over runs and failure to meet standards. One sign that the system may be transferred to MDA is the attendance of more high-level Army officials then expected at the March 10 meeting. The decision will likely me made in the next few months as a system-level critical design review for MEADS is scheduled for August.
Senior U.S. Army officials who met with representatives from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) March 10 reached no decision on whether to transfer management of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program to the agency, according to a defense official.
Instead, senior officials from both organizations agreed that follow-up questions needed to be answered and additional analysis was needed before deciding to transfer management and funding of the program from the Army to MDA, said the defense official.
MEADS is a missile defense development effort among the United States, Italy and Germany.
The Army is again trying to cancel the development of MEADS, citing cost overruns and inability to meet standards. “The system will not meet U.S. requirements or address the current and emerging threat without extensive and costly modifications,” an internal Army staff memo stated. This statement comes in spite of the Pentagons support of the missile defense system and a request of $467 million from Congress to develop the system next year. The Army is scheduled to decide this week whether it will continue to oversee the development of MEADS or hand over responsibility to the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency
Another battle is brewing at the Pentagon over a costly weapons program that many military leaders do not want but that so far has proven difficult to kill.
After several failed attempts, the Army is trying again to cancel a $19 billion missile defense system that the United States is developing in partnership with Italy and Germany. Known as the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, it has been in the works for more than a decade and is designed to replace, in part, the Army’s aging Patriot system.
Check out this MEADS system advertisement. MEADS stands for Medium Extended Air Defense System and is being developed as a joint project between the US, Germany and Italy. For the Americans and Germans it is designed to replace the Patriot system and it will replace the Nike Hercules system for the Italians.
More on MEADS later…