11/08/2013: The MEADS missile defense system developed by the United States, Italy and Germany intercepted and destroyed two targets simultaneously in a final test.
The system provides unique 360 degree capabilities for protection of mobile forces as well as fixed sites.
Credit: White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs:11/6/13
Lockheed, which plans to keep working on the project with Germany and Italy, said the test showed the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) can 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, 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 ground-mobile 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).
He said the system can intercept “multiple targets,” more than the two it destroyed on Wednesday. He could not give the exact number since it was classified.
“MEADS has eight times the capability of some of the existing systems today,” he added.
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. Washington decided last year to withdraw after the development program, citing budget cuts.
Poland is considering joining the program, and sent officials to observe the test conducted jointly by the United States, Germany and Italy, the company said.