The German Federal Ministry of Defence has chosen the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) as the basis for Taktisches LuftVerteidigungsSystem (TLVS), a next-generation network-based tactical air and missile defense system. It will replace Patriot air defense systems initially fielded in the 1980s. Lockheed Martin will share in development of Germany’s TLVS with its MEADS International partner MBDA Deutschland.
«Lockheed Martin is fully committed to the success of TLVS», said Rick Edwards, president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «It reflects our continuing commitment to international partnerships and ongoing support for the German government’s leadership role in European missile defense».
MEADS has been developed through MEADS International, a cooperative venture between MBDA and Lockheed Martin. The TLVS program ensures seamless continuation of this successful development partnership. Lockheed Martin companies in Dallas, Texas; Huntsville, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; and Syracuse, New York, are expected to support the German program.
«With this decision in favour of MEADS, Germany has opted for a powerful, state-of-the-art, long term ground-based air and missile defence system sufficient to meet the threats both of today and of the future», said Thomas Homberg, managing director of MBDA Deutschland. «It is now our shared responsibility, together with the armed forces, to provide a solid basis for the introduction of the system».
In 2013, at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, MEADS became the first air and missile defense system to demonstrate a dual intercept of targets attacking simultaneously from opposite directions. MEADS is designed to significantly reduce operation and support costs by covering a larger area with less manpower and equipment, and less demand on airlift. Once in theater, MEADS elements emplace more quickly and can be repositioned without shutting the system down.
«We are honored that MEADS will provide the foundation for Germany’s next-generation air and missile defense system», said Mike Trotsky, vice president of air and missile defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «Only MEADS has demonstrated the advanced network capabilities and 360-degree defense that are now essential requirements for air and missile defense systems».
TLVS is being carried out under the system leadership of MBDA Deutschland, which continues to draw on MBDA Italia capabilities as well as on a proven industry partnership involving Lockheed Martin and Airbus Defence and Space as well as the skills of many German and international subcontractors.
The MEADS-based TLVS can be used for both national and alliance defence and to protect deployed troops during operations. Special features of the system include 360-degree coverage, open system architecture and «plug & fight» capability, which allows for the coupling of additional sensors and weapon systems, as well as rapid deployability. In addition, the TLVS air defence system can be operated at a significantly lower cost to the user than existing systems and with fewer personnel. The technologies generated within the framework of the tri-national MEADS development process represent the equivalent of €4 billion. Germany shouldered a 25% share of the investment.
Medium Extended Air Defense System
The MEADS provides a robust, 360-degree defense using the Patriot Advanced Capability-Three (PAC-3) hit-to-kill Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) against the full spectrum of theater ballistic missiles, anti-radiation missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, tactical air-to-surface missiles, and rotary- and fixed-wing threats. MEADS will also provide defense against multiple and simultaneous attacks by short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and other air-breathing threats. MEADS can be immediately deployed by air for early entry operations. MEADS also has the mobility to displace rapidly and protect maneuver force assets during offensive operations. Netted, distributed, open architecture and modular components are utilized in the MEADS to increase survivability and flexibility of use in a number of operational configurations. The PAC-3 MSE improves upon the current missile configuration ranges/altitudes and improves performance against evolving threats.
The MEADS weapon system will use its netted and distributed architecture to ensure Joint and allied interoperability, and to enable a seamless interface to the next generation of Battle Management Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I). The system’s improved sensor components and its ability to link other airborne and ground-based sensors facilitate the employment of its battle elements.
The MEADS weapon system’s objective battle management Tactical Operations Center (TOC) will provide the basis for the future common Air and Missile Defense (AMD) TOC, leveraging modular battle elements and a distributed and open architecture to facilitate continuous exchange of information to support a more effective AMD system-of-systems.
PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement
The PAC-3 MSE is an evolution of the battle-proven PAC-3 Missile. The hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE provides performance enhancements that counter evolving threat advancements. The enhancements ensure the PAC-3 Missile Segment of the Patriot Air Defense System is capable of engaging new and evolving threats. The hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile is the world’s most advanced, and capable theater air defense missile and defender against the entire threat to the Patriot Air Defense System: Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBMs) carrying weapons of mass destruction, evolving cruise missiles and aircraft.
The PAC-3 MSE design utilizes the latest technology to significantly increase performance. The PAC-3 MSE incorporates a larger, dual pulse solid rocket motor; larger fins; and upgraded actuators and thermal batteries to accommodate increased performance. The modifications extend the missile’s reach.
The PAC-3 MSE is packaged in a single canister that stacks to provide logistical flexibility. Twelve individual PAC-3 MSE Missiles can be loaded on a Patriot Launcher or a combination of six MSEs and eight PAC-3 Missiles (two four packs) can be loaded.
Several successful intercept flight tests of the missiles have been conducted.
PAC-3 MSE has completed operational testing and has received approval for initial production.