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.