Lockheed Martin has successfully conducted the medium extended air defence system's (MEADS) first ever intercept test flight against an airborne target at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US.
The system successfully detected, tracked, intercepted and destroyed the MQM-107 target, validating its capability for providing full-perimeter, 360° defence against emerging battlefield threats.
MEADS test configuration included a networked MEADS battle manager, lightweight launcher that fired a patriot advanced capability-3 (PAC-3) missile segment enhancement (MSE) missile round and MEADS multifunction fire control radar (MFCR), which tracked and guided the weapon to its target.
Nato MEADS Management Agency general manager Gregory Kee said: "Today's successful flight test further demonstrates MEADS's ability to identify, track, engage and defeat targets attacking from any direction using a single mobile launcher."
During testing, the PAC-3 MSE missile also conducted an over-the-shoulder manoeuvre to intercept the target attacking from behind the MEADS emplacement.
MEADS International president Dave Berganini said the missile offers advanced capabilities that are capable of detecting, tracking and intercepting evolving long-range threats.
"Today's successful intercept proves MEADS's advertised capabilities are real," Berganini added.
Designed by MBDA Italia, the MEADS is a next-generation, ground-mobile air and missile defence system developed to protect troops and critical assets against threats, such as tactical ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the battlefield.
Itended to replace the ageing Patriot missile systems in the US and Germany, as well as the Nike Hercules system in Italy, the system can provide enhanced area coverage with fewer system assets, lowering requirement for deployed personnel and equipment.
The programme is managed by MEADS International, which is a joint project between German LFK, MBDA Italia and US-based Lockheed Martin.
Image: MEADS battle manager prior to undergoing integration testing in August 2012. Photo: copyright Lockheed Martin Corporation©.