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 the Patriot air defense systems initially fielded in the 1980s.
In recent years Germany has upgrade its Patriot fire units towards the latest configuration, adding a modern adjunct processor, to enhance the radar’s range and discrimination over legacy capabilities.
MEADS has been developed through MEADS International, a cooperative venture between MBDA and Lockheed Martin. TLVS is being carried out under the system leadership of MBDA Deutschland, which continues to draw on MBDA Italia’s capabilities, as well as on a proven industry partnership between Lockheed Martin and Airbus Defense and Space. The technologies generated within the framework of the tri-national MEADS development process represent the equivalent of € 4 billion. Germany has shouldered a 25% share of the investment.
“I’m convinced that MEADS is the right system to meet Germany’s future air=defense needs,” says Thomas Homberg, Managing Director of MBDA Deutschland. “With this decision in favor 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. This decision is a great success for MEADS, our long-term partners and for MBDA Deutschland, for whom it also represents a major responsibility and commitment to deliver the necessary level of industrial performance. It is now our shared responsibility, together with the armed forces, to provide a solid basis for the introduction of the system.”
The MEADS-based TLVS can be used for both national and alliance defense 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 2013, at the White Sands Missile Range in 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.” Lockheed Martin branches in Dallas, Texas; Huntsville, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; and Syracuse, New York, are expected to support the German program.
MBDA Deutschland has been involved in international air-defense programs for the past 40 years, with activities related to systems such as the Stinger, Roland, Gepard, Patriot, RAM and, now, the MEADS.
“We have not received formal notification from the German MoD on their plans for the TVLS acquisition and will continue to fully support their consideration of alternatives prior to a final contract award.” Raytheon said in a comment to the news. Raytheon, leading the ‘Patriot Alliance’ expressed confidence in its low-risk, and cost-effective solution, which provides 360-degrees of coverage with open architecture, can advance the missile defense capabilities of the German Ministry of Defense. Germany remains part of the 13-nation strong Patriot partnership. “As such, Germany enjoys 100% of Patriot modernization upgrade and improvement benefits while contributing a fraction of the community shared costs, as was the case when Germany supported a $212m Engineering Services Contract awarded this past March.” Raytheon spokesperson commented.