Information Papers

Major Acquisition Programs: Medium Extended Air Defense System

What is it?  
The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) is the Army's next generation of air and missile defense. It is designed to provide a robust, 360-degree defense against the full spectrum of ballistic missiles, anti-radiation missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, tactical air-to-surface missiles, as well as rotary and fixed wing threats. MEADS is a cooperative development by Germany, Italy, and the United States. It will field firing units with lightweight launchers, search radars, multiple function fire control radars, a battle manager, and associated equipment. The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement will be the interceptor as the system is fielded.

What has the Army done?  
Since approval by the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, the Army has entered into an agreement with Italy and Germany to jointly develop the MEADS ground system. Prototype demonstrations of key components of the system have shown technical maturity appropriate for this phase of the design effort. On May 31, 2005, the partner nations signed an eight-year contract for the design and development of the MEADS system. In April 2008, NAMEADSMA and MEADS International completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) phase of the program and entered the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?  
The Army will continue to participate in the design, development, and testing of the system with the partner nations. Ultimately, MEADS will replace the Patriot in the Army's composite air defense battalions.

Why is this important to the Army?  
MEADS will provide the Army with enhanced force protection against a broad array of third dimension threats. The improvements in interoperability, mobility, and full 360-degree defense capability against the evolving threat represent a key aspect of the modernization of Army Air Defense. The fielding of the MEADS system will allow the Patriot system to be retired after more than 40 years of service. MEADS will improve our capability to continue to defend our troops, friends, and allies in critical places around the globe.