MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar Proves Capabilities in Performance Tests

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 23, 2014 – The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program has completed a six-week performance test of its 360-degree Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR) at Pratica di Mare Air Base near Rome, Italy, and at MBDA Germany’s air defense center in Freinhausen in the presence of representatives from the German Air Force and guests from MEADS partner nations. This was the first time the MFCR has been operated in Germany.

“The latest test again gives evidence of the maturity of the MEADS development results,” said Siegfried Bücheler, director of Programs and Supply Chain at MBDA Germany and chairman of the Board of Directors at MEADS International. “They form an excellent basis for Germany’s future air defense system. MEADS technologies are designed to fulfill requirements for an advanced tactical air and missile defense system that anticipates future threats. Competing systems would require further development to achieve the advanced MEADS capabilities.”

During the tests, the MEADS MFCR successfully demonstrated several advanced capabilities, many of which are critical for ground-mobile radar systems. Capabilities tested include tracking and canceling jamming signals; searching, cueing and tracking in ground clutter; and successfully classifying target data using kinematic information.

“The MEADS MFCR combines extraordinary capability and cost effectiveness,” said Gregory Kee, general manager of the NATO MEADS Management Agency. “It can detect and track advanced threats with 360-degree coverage, is highly mobile and can be transported on C-130 aircraft.”

MEADS radars are designed to protect troops and assets on today’s 360-degree battlefield, where missile attacks are omnidirectional. Using plug-and-fight capability, the MFCR acts as a node on the MEADS network, and like all other MEADS major end items, can be dynamically added or removed as missions dictate, without shutting down the system.

“We are thrilled with the maturity of this radar,” said Marco Riccetti, technical director for MEADS International. “The MFCR has an extraordinary capability to detect and track ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. Its 360-degree capability provides added protection against next-generation threats for military sites and civilian populations.”

The X-band MFCR employs active phased array technology using transmit/receive components developed in Germany. It provides precision tracking and wideband discrimination and classification capabilities. An advanced Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe subsystem allows for improved threat identification. If required, the radar can provide full fire control and limited surveillance capabilities.

MBDA Germany dedicated considerable financial investments in its Freinhausen test center for air and missile defense systems as part of a systematic and sustained positioning of the company in the air defense and air and missile defense segment. For future air defense applications, Freinhausen offers capabilities for assembling and testing sensors and a wide range of C2 and weapon deployment systems, up to and including the preparation and follow-up of flight trials. Active 360-degree transmission by search radars is also possible, as are the integration and testing of components of a future air defense network. Furthermore, the datalink between the Freinhausen and Schrobenhausen sites offers the option of working on integration and test activities at either location. The linking of the future MEADS System Integration Laboratory in Schrobenhausen with the test facilities at Freinhausen is a good example. With the facilities already available there, Freinhausen will make a significant contribution to the further development of Germany’s air defense capabilities.  

MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy and Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States.

The MEADS program management agency NAMEADSMA is located in Huntsville, Alabama.

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A MEADS MFCR tracked multiple targets in a dual-intercept test at White Sands Missile Range last year.