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The first multifunction fire control radar (MFCR) of the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) has completed integration testing with a battle manager and launcher at Pratica di Mare Air Force Base in Rome, Italy.

The test was aimed at demonstrating the coordinated control of MFCR by the MEADS tactical operations centre (TOC) along with the MEADS launcher.

During the testing, the radar displayed capabilities such as a 360° target acquisition and tracking through use of both dedicated flights and other air traffic systems.

MEADS International technical director Marco Riccetti said: "Integration of the MFCR, battle manager and launcher is proving that all elements are capable of tracking live targets and engaging them virtually."

Equipped with element-level transmit/receive modules, the MFCR is an X-band, solid-state, phased array radar designed to provide commanders with accurate tracking and wideband discrimination and classification capabilities in combat zone.

Employing its main beam for uplink and downlink missile communications, the radar is capable of offering both surveillance and fire control capabilities until the joining of a surveillance radar.

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“Integration of the MFCR, battle manager and launcher is proving that all elements are capable of tracking live targets and engaging them virtually.”

MFCR serves as a node on the MEADS network through its plug-and-fight capability, and also features an advanced mode 5 identify friend-or-foe subsystem to support enhanced threat identification and typing.

Through MEADS battle manager, the commander can dynamically add or remove sensors and shooters without closing the system to meet situational demands.

The radar has already been delivered to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US, for an intercept flight testing scheduled to take place in late 2012.

MEADS is a 360° ground-mobile air and missile defence system, developed to defend soldiers and critical assets against threats such as tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The system is managed by MEADS International, which is a joint project between German LFK, MBDA Italia and the US-based Lockheed Martin.

Image: The third MEADS battle manager prior to undergoing integration testing in Huntsville, Alaska, US. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.