Italian Technical Director Begins New Assignment on The MEADS Program
ORLANDO/MUNICH/ROME, 23-MAY-06 --
MEADS International (MI) announced that Claudio Ponzi has been named Technical Director for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program. He joins the program management team in Orlando from MBDA Italia Societa’ per Azioni (SpA).
Before his assignment to MI, Ponzi was Seeker Division Head of Programs, a position he has held since 2004 with responsibility for Aster, Meteor, IRIS-T and applied research. Previously, he was head of the Technical and Project Directorate for the Aster Missile Project Team and program manager of the High Speed Anti Radiation Missile – Precision Navigation Upgrade (HARM PNU) program that involved Germany, Italy and the United States.
He also held positions in Finmeccanica Corporate Business Development, Aeritalia/Alenia Corporate Research and Development and development engineering with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm.
Ponzi is a graduate of the University of Rome La Sapienza (Aeronautical Engineering) and received the Master of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar. He speaks French, English, German and Russian, in addition to his native Italian.
He succeeds Pietro Ragonese, who will retire in June after contributing eight years to the success of the MEADS program. Ragonese initiated the position of technical director for MEADS International.
MEADS is a mobile air and missile defense system designed to replace Patriot systems in the United States and Germany and Nike Hercules systems in Italy. It also meets the requirements of Germany’s “capabilities oriented” air and missile defense concept.
MEADS will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operations and once there, will keep pace with fast-moving maneuver forces. When completed, MEADS will be the only air and missile defense system able to roll off tactical transports with the troops and almost immediately begin operations. More importantly, its open architecture will provide for 21st century air and missile defense system-of-system integration capabilities that allow operational mission-tailoring for homeland defense or defense of maneuver forces. MEADS will also provide greater firepower with less manpower than current systems, producing dramatic operation and support cost savings.
In May 2005, MEADS International signed a definitized contract valued at $2 billion plus €1.4 billion for MEADS design and development. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, FL, MEADS International’s participating companies are MBDA Italia, MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin in the United States. Together, these companies have focused an international engineering team in Orlando to develop systems and technologies for the MEADS program, which is closely watched as a model for collaborative transatlantic development. The United States funds 58 percent of the MEADS program, and European partners Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively.