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MEADS Update

March 17th, 2010


Last week, we blogged about the conflict between the Pentagon and the Army regarding the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). The Pentagon wants to continue developing the system with Germany and Italy, and the Army wants to ditch the project, citing the system’s cost. MEADS is a mobile system designed to intercept short-range cruise missiles and shoot down planes and drones. The system uses Lockheed Martin’s Patriot PAC-3 missile and the long-range IRIS-T air-to-air missile.

The $19 billion MEADS project began over 10 years ago, and it’s intended to replace the Army’s aging Patriot system. In addition to the system’s cost, says the Army, it’s taking too long to build it, and it will be hard to manage. The Army will decide whether to transfer development of MEADS to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The Defense Department was also concerned about souring relations with Germany and Italy if MEADS is canceled. The Heritage Foundation‘s Baker Spring said the system is one that the U.S., Germany, and Italy can use when each has the need. “It’s almost inconceivable to me that the U.S. military would be in an expeditionary operation where it won’t be working with coalition partners in some form or another,” he told the Washington Post.

Defense News reports that Army officials and MDA representatives met last week, but the two did not reach a decision on MEADS. Officials agreed that before they can decide whether to transfer the system from the Army to the MDA, follow-up questions and more analysis were necessary.

A design review of MEADS is scheduled for August 2010.

Battle Over the Medium Extended Air Defense System

March 9th, 2010

MEADS

The Pentagon wants the U.S. to continue developing the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), in conjunction with Germany and Italy, but the Army wants to ditch the project, citing the system’s cost. (Source)

MEADS is a mobile system designed to intercept short-range cruise missiles and shoot down planes and drones.

The $19 billion MEADS project, which began over 10 years ago, is intended to replace the Army’s aging Patriot system. In addition to the system’s cost, says the Army, it’s taking too long to build it, and it will be hard to manage. The Pentagon wants to continue building the system and has requested $467 million. At this point, it would cost more money to cancel the project than to continue. The Defense Department would owe contractors, a group that includes Lockheed Martin, at least half a million in penalties.

The Defense Department is also concerned about souring relations with Germany and Italy if MEADS is canceled. The Washington Post quotes the Heritage Foundation‘s Baker Spring. He said the system is one that the U.S., Germany, and Italy can use when each has the need.

“It’s almost inconceivable to me that the U.S. military would be in an expeditionary operation where it won’t be working with coalition partners in some form or another,” Spring told the Post.

The Army will decide whether to transfer development of MEADS to the Missile Defense Agency. Understandably, Lockheed Martin wants to continue developing the system. “At a time of growing threats, MEADS represents the United States’ first all-new air and missile defense system of its kind in decades and is the only such program in which allies are sharing the cost to develop a capability that each country needs.”

The Army and the Pentagon are in a conundrum. MEADS would provide protection in the field, and canceling it would cost more than keeping it. More than that, dropping the system likely would displease Germany and Italy.

(Image source: Army Technology)

Baker Spring on MEADS Program

August 18th, 2009

 
MEADSThe Heritage Foundation‘s Baker Spring has written a web memo titled, “Sustain the Other European Missile Defense Program,” in which he discusses the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) development program.

President Obama appears reluctant to support agreements we made with Poland and the Czech Republic to build missile defense shields, and he’s proposed to cut $1.4 billion from the missile defense program. But what about our joint missile program with Germany and Italy? An excerpt:

“The Germans are covering 25 percent of the cost of the program, while the Italians are covering 16.7 percent. The U.S. is responsible for the remaining 58.3 percent. This cost-sharing arrangement is based on a $3.4 billion contract that was signed by the three countries in 2004.

“The Obama Administration requested a little more than $569 million in research, development, test, and evaluation funding for the program for fiscal year 2010.Generally speaking, Congress is on track to support the Administration’s request. The question is whether the Obama Administration and Congress will support the program in the years after fiscal year 2010. Therefore, Congress should express its desire to see this program continue in fiscal year 2011 and beyond.”

Spring adds that the MEADS program should stay on track. Not only will it reinforce our commitments with Europe, it will ensure mobility of missile defense power for ground forces, 360-degree protection against missile and air threats, and more.

Read the full article here.

(Image source: Army Technology)