MEADS destroyed 2 targets simultaneously in last test -Lockheed

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 6, 2013 2:38pm EST

WASHINGTON Nov 6 (Reuters) - The MEADS missile defense system developed by the United States, Italy and Germany intercepted and destroyed two targets simultaneously in a final test on Wednesday before Washington pulls out of the program, Lockheed Martin Corp said.

Lockheed, which plans to keep working on the project with Germany and Italy, said the test showed the Medium Extended Air Defense System's (MEADS) ability to provide 360-degree protection against air and ballistic missile threats.

MEADS was developed by a joint venture of Lockheed and the Italian-German group MBDA. In Wednesday's test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, MEADS destroyed two targets launched from opposite directions at the same time: a QF-4 air-breathing drone coming from the south, and a Lance missile that was flying a ballistic missile trajectory from the north.

"No fielded groundmobile air and missile defense can intercept targets from two directions at the same time, as MEADS did today," said Gregory Kee, who manages the program for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The United States, Italy and Germany spent about $3.4 billion to develop MEADS over the past decade as a successor to the Patriot missile defense system, but Washington decided last year to withdraw after the development program was completed. It said it could not afford the program because of budget cuts.

Raytheon Co is the prime contractor for the Patriot system, which uses PAC-3 missiles made by Lockheed, and has continued to generate large international orders. Lockheed says MEADS offers broader protection against missile attacks than the older Patriot system, and is cheaper and easier to transport. Officials also say MEADS is the only system that offers 360-degree coverage.

Raytheon officials say the Patriot system, which first entered the U.S. Army's inventory in 1982, has been heavily modernized in recent years, with large foreign orders helping fund the addition of new digital processors, touch panel screens and portable trainers.

Critics of MEADS say it has not been tested in combat, as Patriot has, and the Patriot system has already demonstrated its ability to fire the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles developed for MEADS.

The Pentagon put a final $310 million in funding into the MEADS program in fiscal 2013 to pay for the last test and bring the developmental program to a close.

Kee said Wednesday's test, which was observed by military officials from Italy and Germany, would allow all three countries to use the MEADS technology. The Pentagon has said it plans to "harvest" technologies from the MEADS system for other missile defense efforts, but details have not been released.

MEADS said officials from Poland also observed Wednesday's test as they move to launch a competition valued at $3 billion to $5 billion in January for a new air and missile defense system.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (1)
Overcast451 wrote:
*bravo, bravo* (( golf clap ))

It’s great to make more missiles and bombs!! Screw the poor, screw the hungry – what we need are more bombs!!

You know – if instead of nuclear missiles, we were building power plants in Africa – then desalinization plants and irrigating their crops… it would be hard for anyone in the world to say anything bad about the US and have any credibility. Or perhaps we could be building schools in the middle east and irrigating land there. Or maybe feeding an educating people in our own streets.

Bu instead – we spy and build bombs. Our leaders suck – the GOP and the DNC – vote them out this next election, don’t be a partisan sucker.

Nov 08, 2013 10:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.