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 Force Base near Rome, Italy, and at MBDA Germany’s air defense center in Freinhausen in the presence of the German customer and guests from MEADS partner nations.

This was the first time the MFCR has been operated in Germany.

MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar Photo: MBDA Deutchland
MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar
Photo: MBDA Deutchland

“The latest test gives again 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.

The results form a basis for Germany’s new generation of missile defense, called TLVS, he said.

“A future air defense system based on MEADS technologies is designed to fulfill requirements for an advanced tactical air and missile defense system that anticipates future threats,” Bücheler said. “Competing systems would require further development for achieving the advanced MEADS capabilities.”

During the tests, the MEADS MFCR successfully demonstrated several advanced capabilities, many of which are critical for ground-mobile radar. 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 C-130 transportable.”

MEADS radars are designed to protect troops and assets on today’s 360-degree battlefield because 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 capabilities provide 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.

Germany is looking at various options for the TLVS, including MEADS International, a multinational joint venture led by Lockheed Martin [LMT] and MBDA offering MEADS, Raytheon’s [RTN] Patriot or some combination of both systems.

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