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For more than a decade, MEADS has set the standard for successful transatlantic collaboration in defense. Through MEADS International, MBDA Germany, MBDA Italy and Lockheed Martin participate as equals, and together have designed, developed and built the most advanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense system in the world. The collaborative program model is flexible and can be successfully extended to incorporate new partners when needed, such as Poland.

Partnership is the foundation for MEADS success. A strong partnership between the U.S., Germany and Italy has been essential in developing a complex system that meets robust military requirements. Here’s how:

The C4 of MEADS Partnership Success


To develop MEADS, each company agreed to co-develop the new system as equal partners with equal say. The tri-national team laid out an Industrial Cooperation Agreement that said each company would support any challenges. Cooperation is crucial to strengthen security relationships, share the cost burden of developing and fielding defense systems, enhance interoperability between forces and develop and apply world-class technology.


Using the MEADS industrial model, each partner country gains meaningful workshare and 100% access to all technology. You may know that much of the radar work for MEADS is done at the Lockheed Martin facility in Syracuse, but you might not realize that Germany also plays a significant role. For example, Germany helped develop and integrate the Battle Management software and the Multifunction Fire Control Radar, including work with Airbus to incorporate highly advanced radar modules. The lightweight 360-degree MEADS launcher was also developed, assembled and tested by a product team at MBDA Germany.

A state of the art MEADS System Integration Laboratory (SIL) based on the Orlando SIL is installed on-site at Schrobenhausen. This capability, in conjunction with the link to the Freinhausen test center, is giving MBDA Germany additional competencies in air and missile defense. A similar facility has been developed in Italy at Pratica di Mare Air Force Base enables MBDA Italy to share workload and validate test results.


This collaboration demonstrates the power of world-class engineering to solve problems warfighters identified with previously fielded systems. The ground-mobile AMD system incorporates 360-degree radars, networked battle management, easily transportable launchers and the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE Missile to defeat the entire threat spectrum, including cruise missiles, tactical ballistic missiles and air-breathing threats. To cut support costs, MEADS was designed to use half the manpower and less maintenance than current systems. To better ensure the safety of allied pilots, MEADS incorporates a sophisticated Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) subsystem. Working together, the team developed a system that not only answers all of these requirements but has proven them.


The MEADS team is committed to equally sharing the risks across the program to ensure its success. The team meets commitments by working collaboratively to leverage the best talent and ideas from each company and by working together to solve the numerous challenges posed by new system development.

With air and missile threats increasing today, a robust 21 st Century solution is needed to defeat them. MEADS is ready to protect our nations’ security and provide advanced missile defense solutions for our friends and allies.