The medium extended air-defence system (MEADS) has successfully demonstrated the full range of advanced network capabilities during a comprehensive system demonstration at Pratica di Mare Air Base near Rome, Italy.

Conducted over two weeks, the test demonstration was designed to seamlessly add and subtract system elements under representative combat conditions, and to combine MEADS with other systems in a larger system architecture.

The demonstrations also highlighted the system’s interoperability with German and Italian air-defence assets through exchange of standardised NATO messages.

While key Italian air-defence assets were integrated into a test bed at an Italian national facility, the surface-to-air missile operations centre and patriot assets were integrated into a test bed at the German Air Force Air Defence Center in Fort Bliss, Texas, US.

During testing, MEADS used plug-and-fight capability to rapidly attach and control an external Italian deployable air-defence radar to track air objects and supply a common integrated air picture around Pratica di Mare.

The system demonstrated its engage-on-remote flexibility by engaging a simulated cruise missile and other threats simultaneously using an external sensor and track data provided through the link 16 data-exchange network.

"These ground-breaking capabilities are ready to be carried forward to meet national needs."

MEADS then automatically selected the best launcher for target engagement and demonstrated control of engagement operations from each battle manager, confirming its ability to maintain defence capabilities in the event of system failure.

MEADS International executive vice-president Volker Weidemann said: "These ground-breaking capabilities are ready to be carried forward to meet national needs."

Designed by MBDA Italia, 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).

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

Image: MEADS intercepts two targets in opposite directions during a previous testing at White Sands Missile Range, US. Photo: courtesy of MEADS International.

Defence Technology