October 14, 2011

MEADS network-centric architecture under integration testing

News Report

As reported in a recent press releaseMEADS International (MI) has begun integration testing on the first completed Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) battle manager at the MEADS Verification Facility in Orlando, U.S.A.

The battle manager completed acceptance testing in May at MBDA in Fusaro, Italy, and arrived in Orlando in early July.

The System

The MEADS battle manager controls a revolutionary 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.

System elements are on schedule for an initial launch test at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) later this year.

Using the MEADS system stimulator, which consists of multiple special test equipment units for integration and test to emulate the external environment of a MEADS fire unit, MEADS International will simulate scenarios that exercise all functions for the first intercept flight test in 2012. The MEADS battle manager will configure the other major end items and receive Surveillance Radar tracks for simulated threats, cue the Multifunction Fire Control Radar, send launch commands, and complete interceptor launches and target intercepts. When integration test goals have been met, this entire suite of hardware will be shipped to WSMR to support the flight test program.

The Context

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, LFK in Germany (a German missile systems company subsidiary of EADS) and Lockheed Martin in the United States.

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).

MEADS is a mobile Air and Missile Defense System that is easily transportable, tactically mobile and uses the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE Missile to defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft, providing full 360-degree engagement. Because it has no blind spots against the evolving threat and offers improved range, interoperability and mobility, MEADS improves capability to defend troops, friends and allies in critical areas around the globe.

MEADS defends up to 8 times the coverage area of other systems but uses far fewer system assets. This allows for a substantial reduction in deployed personnel and equipment, and reduces demand for airlift.


MEADS International (MI) President David Berganini said, “The MEADS system is ready to prove what it can do. MEADS will demonstrate coverage and flexibility that other systems cannot provide, including complete 360-degree defense that protects our warfighters against next-generation threats. While able to defend up to eight times the area of current systems, MEADS is also designed to reduce operation and support costs.

MI Systems Engineering, Integration and Test Team Director Norbert Wuehrer said, “Using our end-to-end simulation lets us test more rigorously and significantly reduces risk prior to deploying to White Sands Missile Range.

References: Lockheed Martin (1,2)

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