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Description of the radar set, tactical-technical characteristics

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Figure 1: An artist impression of a MEADS deployment scenario


As an US/German/Italian developement programme MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System) is to complement/replace PATRIOT, enabling the engagement of tactical ballistic missiles. The German development company is EADS/LFK. Germany plans to invest € 1 billion in the developement and € 3 billion in the producement of 12 systems. As a result from the high development and productions costs, MEADS is currently under political dispute.

The MEADS uses a UHF surveillance radar

Figure 2: The MEADS uses a UHF surveillance radar

In terms of shorter ranges and less “demanding” targets MEADS could be supplemented with a secondary missile like the ground lounched version of IRIS-T with a solid-propellant rocket motor: IRIS-T-SL (Surface Lounched). This highly mobile system can be integrated with networked air defence systems via a “Plug & Fight” data interface. An RF data link provides for the transmission of target information even if the missile is already in flight.

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Figure 3: MEADS- fire control radar under test in Italy

During the Final System Demonstration in Italy, MEADS successfully identified ballistic missile and hostile aircraft from a multiple-target set and engaged and destroyed the threats. Two radars - an X-Band fire control radar and a UHF- Band surveillance radar - will be intrinsic to the MEADS battery. External sensors will be able to provide alerting and cueing information to any TOC in the battalion.

MEADS uses the PAC-3 missile (for cost reasons). A standard fire unit, which is crewed by 19, consists of one search radar, two fire control radars (multifunction, can search too?), two operations centers, six 12-missile launchers. (One fire control radar, one OC and one launcher can work standalone.)