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16 octobre 2015 5 16 /10 /octobre /2015 07:20
MEADS Capability Nodes


15 oct. 2015 by Lockheed Martin


Mature, network-ready MEADS end items and technology can add 360-degree capabilities to networked air and missile defense architectures. This version is updated to include video from the newest flight test.

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13 juin 2015 6 13 /06 /juin /2015 11:50
Medium Extended Air Defense System ( photo MEADS International)

Medium Extended Air Defense System ( photo MEADS International)

10.06.2015  Lockheed Martin

The German Federal Ministry of Defence has chosen the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) as the basis for Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem (TLVS), a next-generation network-based tactical air and missile defense system. It will replace Patriot air defense systems initially fielded in the 1980s.


Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) will share in development of Germany’s TLVS with its MEADS International partner MBDA Deutschland.

“Lockheed Martin is fully committed to the success of TLVS,” said Rick Edwards, president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “It reflects our continuing commitment to international partnerships and ongoing support for the German government’s leadership role in European missile defense.”

MEADS has been developed through MEADS International, a cooperative venture between MBDA and Lockheed Martin. The TLVS program ensures seamless continuation of this successful development partnership. Lockheed Martin companies in Dallas, Texas; Huntsville, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; and Syracuse, New York, are expected to support the German program.

“With this decision in favour of MEADS, Germany has opted for a powerful, state-of-the-art, long term ground-based air and missile defence system sufficient to meet the threats both of today and of the future,” said Thomas Homberg, managing director of MBDA Deutschland. “It is now our shared responsibility, together with the armed forces, to provide a solid basis for the introduction of the system.”

In 2013, at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, MEADS became the first air and missile defense system to demonstrate a dual intercept of targets attacking simultaneously from opposite directions. MEADS is designed to significantly reduce operation and support costs by covering a larger area with less manpower and equipment, and less demand on airlift. Once in theater, MEADS elements emplace more quickly and can be repositioned without shutting the system down.

“We are honored that MEADS will provide the foundation for Germany’s next-generation air and missile defense system,” said Mike Trotsky, vice president of air and missile defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Only MEADS has demonstrated the advanced network capabilities and 360-degree defense that are now essential requirements for air and missile defense systems.”

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14 janvier 2015 3 14 /01 /janvier /2015 08:20
MEADS Ready For Transition to European Follow-On Programs

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 7, 2015 – Lockheed Martin


The tri-national Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program enters 2015 as a candidate for next-generation air and missile defense requirements in both Germany and Poland.

MEADS is a primary candidate for the German Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem (TLVS), a new generation of air and missile defense that requires a flexible architecture based on strong networking capabilities. MEADS is also expected to become the basis of a national defense system in Italy. Formal decisions are expected from Germany and Italy early this year, and a follow‐on plan is being developed for transition.

In December, the Polish Armament Inspectorate also announced that MEADS International will participate in technical discussions for the Narew short-range air defense system. The Narew system will be capable of destroying aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

“We have built and tested a new generation of networked air and missile defense radars, launchers and battle managers,” said MEADS International executive vice president Volker Weidemann. “MEADS is now ready for continuation programs in Germany and Italy, and for Poland’s Narew program.”

In December 2014, the MEADS program completed a formal contract review with evaluators from Germany, Italy and the United States. The review completed a recent series of achievements that began with a successful first-ever dual-intercept test at White Sands Missile Range in 2013.

  •  In March 2014, the MEADS Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe subsystem gained final certification for including Mode 5 (L2) capability.
  • In July 2014, at Pratica di Mare Air Force Base in Italy, MEADS demonstrated unique capabilities to network with other systems and radars, share a common integrated air picture, dynamically match interceptors to targets, and to move workload among battle managers.
  • In August 2014, a MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar also demonstrated capabilities related to tracking and canceling of jammer signals; searching, cueing and tracking in ground clutter; and successful target classification.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Command has also held a separate review to respond to interest within the Department of Defense in leveraging MEADS technology. MEADS represents a $4 billion effort to develop, implement and prove next-generation air and missile defense system technology.

“The nations recognize the need for a more versatile capability in air and missile defense,” said NAMEADSMA general manager Gregory Kee. “MEADS is designed to be flexible, agile and lethal against the evolving threats our adversaries are developing.”

MEADS is designed to defend up to eight times the coverage area with far fewer system assets with significantly reduced demand for deployed personnel and equipment and for airlift. MEADS is also designed for high reliability and needs fewer personnel to operate.

MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy and Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States.

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

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21 mars 2014 5 21 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
La Pologne est pressée d'assurer sa défense antiaérienne


20.03.2014 journal-aviation.com (Reuters)


La Pologne, membre de l'Otan, a décidé d'accélérer sa procédure d'appel d'offres pour un système de défense antimissile, à la lumière de la crise actuelle entre la Russie et l'Ukraine.


"Nous allons accélérer le règlement des questions relatives à la défense antiaérienne de la Pologne", a déclaré jeudi le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense, Jacek Sonta. "La Pologne compte arrêter dans les prochaines semaines son choix sur son système de défense antimissile."


Quatre candidats sont en lice: le français Thales associé au groupe européen MBDA et au groupe polonais d'armement; le gouvernement israélien; l'américain Raytheon et le consortium MEADS emmené par Lockheed Martin . (Marcin Goettig et Andrea Shalal avec Dan Williams; Guy Kerivel pour le service français)

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
Building the Shield

Is there a project manaEuropean Protection: The Medium Extended Air Defense System is one candidate for Poland's proposed new air defense system. (MEADS International)


Nov. 26, 2013 - By JAROSLAW ADAMOWSKI and TOM KINGTON – Defense News


European Nations Cooperate With US, NATO Allies On Missile Defense


WARSAW AND ROME — As NATO intensifies its efforts to shield Europe from airborne threats, numerous countries are aiming to bolster their missile defense capabilities at the national level and as part of collective allied efforts. Those plans are centered on NATO’s missile defense shield and the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).


Poland plans to modernize its anti-aircraft and anti-missile system by 2022 by adding short- and middle-range missiles. The program is estimated to be worth as much as 26.4 billion zloty (US $8.4 billion), according to figures obtained by local daily Gazeta Wyborcza, which makes it the country’s largest armament program.


With multibillion-dollar procurements in the pipeline, Defense Min­ister Tomasz Siemoniak announced that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Nov. 4-6 visit to Poland was related to Poland’s military modernization prog­ram and potential arms acquisitions.


The two countries’ missile defense cooperation was also high on the agenda, with SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missiles planned to be deployed at Poland’s air base in Redzikowo.


Kerry and Siemoniak visited the Polish military’s 32nd Tactical Air Base in Lask, in central Poland. During his visit, Kerry said the US did not intend to abandon its missile defense plans in Europe, and that in 2018, the Poland-based component of the missile shield would be operational.


“Poland and Europe need the United States to be strong and present, leading an [alliance] which is based on collective reliability of its members and the development of real military capacities,” Siemoniak said. “This is why we support the missile defense program by hosting on our soil a base which is to be set up in 2018 in Redzikowo.”


For its national missile defense efforts, the Polish Army wants local manufacturers to cooperate on the program with foreign defense players.


One of the first of a series of procurements for the Polish missile program will be a midrange anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, dubbed Wisla.


With the planned purchase in mind, in June the Defense Ministry invited companies to participate in a dialogue on technical and strategic requirements for the procurement.


Fourteen foreign and domestic manufacturers expressed interest in participating in the Wisla project, including Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing of the US; France’s Thales; Italy’s Selex; Turkey’s Aselsan; Spain’s Indra and Sener; Israel’s SIBAT; and a consortium led by the Polish Defense Holding.


Poland Could Join MEADS


MBDA submitted two bids, one based on the Aster-30 medium-range air-defense missile and one developed around the MEADS, a partnership of the US, Italy and Germany. With the US Army withdrawing from the project, Poland could become the third European partner should it hand the missile defense contract to MBDA.


Acquisition of the MEADS anti-missile system was canceled by the US, but officials with the industrial team behind it, comprising Lockheed Martin and MBDA, said Poland could yet sign up to join Rome and Berlin.


Polish officials attended a test firing against two simultaneous targets in the US in November, which marked a climax of the program’s development phase before the US ends its funding.


A MEADS team also gave officials in Poland a briefing at the end of August, one of a number of briefings given by competitors that wrapped up on Sept. 30 and could lead to a selection by Poland in January of anti-missile systems, said Marty Coyne, business development director for MEADS International.


Although it is unclear whether Italy and Germany will push on with acquisition after the departure of the US from the program, Coyne said the two countries were planning to “transition to European development” work by the end of 2014.


“We have offered Polish industry the chance to be a partner in that development, which involves software work and qualification,” he said.


The cost of that development work would run 10 to 15 percent of the $4 billion cost of the program., Coyne added.


According to the scenario in which Poland, Italy and Germany wrap up development together, Lockheed would remain an “active participant,” and the US government would remain a “signatory” to the program, Coyne said.


Aegis Ashore in Romania


Romania is another key country in NATO’s missile defense plans. In late October, construction of a facility to host the Aegis Ashore missile defense system was launched in Deveselu, in the country’s south.


Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. The Romania-based facility will be part of NATO’s missile shield over Europe, with the Aegis BMD and SM-3 Block IB set to provide ballistic missile coverage of southern Europe, according to the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency.


Under the plan, the missile interceptors in Deveselu are expected to be operational in 2015. The project is worth about $134 million

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 18:50
Launch of a Diehl Defence IRIS-T SL missile at the Overberg Test Range

Launch of a Diehl Defence IRIS-T SL missile at the Overberg Test Range


20 November 2013 by defenceWeb


Diehl Defence has expanded the envelope of its IRIS-T SL (Surface Launched) surface-to-air guided missile with successful firings at the Overberg Test Range earlier this month.


The company said two firings were conducted on a test campaign between November 4 and 8 as part of the development programme for the new guided missile plus launcher, contracted by the German Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and Utilization of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw).


Both missiles destroyed their targets with direct hits confirming the guided missile system´s expected precision, Diehl said. In one case the maximum distance lay far beyond 20 kilometres. The missiles were launched at EADS Do-DT 25 jet powered target drones.


Diehl test fired the IRIS-T SL for the first time on October 9, 2009, at Overberg. Further firings were conducted there in December 2012.


It is being developed for Germany as a stop-gap to the Medium Extended Air Defence System (Meads) being produced by Lockheed Martin and MBDA and is a ground-launched version of the infrared homing IRIS-T in service with the South African Air Force. It has a sharp nose cone to reduce drag that is separated prior to approaching a target.


Diehl Defence said the mobile, medium-range systems provide comprehensive 360 degree protection against air attacks by aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and guided weapons. They allow simultaneous engagement of several targets even at very short distances thanks to extremely short reaction times.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 18:20
Pentagon Needs to Rethink Cancellation of Meads


November 8, 2013 Daniel Goure*, Ph.D. -  defense-update.com

The Department of Defense has a long and unhappy history of spending tens of billions of dollars bringing weapons programs well along the path to completion only to terminate them in the 11th hour. Remember the A-12 attack aircraft, Comanche helicopter, Future Combat System, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, CG(X) cruiser, VXX Presidential Helicopter and Crusader howitzer.

Often the military service and contractors involved fail to salvage any of the advanced technologies or manufacturing capabilities developed as part of the program. If the political stars are properly aligned, the Pentagon may be pressured into producing a small number of extremely capable but controversial platforms at very high unit prices: Seawolf nuclear submarine, B-2 bomber, F-22 fighter and Zumwalt DDG-1000 destroyer.

In an era of austere budgets and renewed calls for acquisition reform, one might think that DoD would make a concerted effort to admit to its dysfunctional behaviors and reconsider some of its near-term acquisition decisions. Chief among these is the decision by the U.S. Army to terminate the Medium Extended Air Defense System. MEADS was intended to be the next-generation in ground-mobile air and missile defense replacing a wide range of Western systems. MEADS had many attractive features, it was a multinational program — Germany and Italy were co-developers and provided nearly half the funding, it was highly mobile, and the radar and battle management system provided 360-degree coverage against fast moving aircraft and cruise missiles.


Just this week, MEADS demonstrated the unprecedented capability to track, intercept and destroy simultaneously two targets approaching from opposite directions. One target represented an air-breathing threat and the other a short-range ballistic missile. Every element of the system worked flawlessly: the 360-degree MEADS Surveillance Radar, a networked MEADS battle manager, two lightweight launchers firing PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement Missiles and a 360-degree MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar. This was the third successful test in a row for the MEADS system.

At a time when the Army is trying to become more expeditionary, agile, lighter and responsive to new threats, the decision to cancel MEADS, a system that supports all of these objectives, seems odd. The Army has promised to identify component technologies that could be harvested from MEADS to enhance existing air and missile defense systems. Unfortunately, this means the Army will still be left with a ground-based air and missile defense capability less responsive and mobile than MEADS.

Critics have complained that the multinational character of MEADS increased complexity and cost. But the same could be said about the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program which has eight co-development partners. Yet, DoD has stressed international participation as one of the positive features of the JSF program. Germany and Italy would like to keep the MEADS program going, adding new participants. Poland recently expressed strong interest in becoming a MEADS principal. Warsaw would have to put some money to the program for which it would expect to receive significant industrial participation. If other nations can be enticed to participate, perhaps DoD should tell the Army to give MEADS a second look.

* Dr. Goure is a Vice President with the Lexington Institute, a nonprofit public-policy research organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. He is involved in a wide range of issues as part of the institute’s national security program.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Lockheed Looks to Poland for Possible MEADS Partnership

A Medium Extended Air Defense System missile launches to intercept a target in November. Lockheed Martin is pursuing missile defense partnerships in the Middle East and Europe after the US announced it was backing out of the MEADS program. (US Army)


Sep. 11, 2013 - By PAUL McLEARY – Defense news


WASHINGTON — Like other US defense companies looking for international opportunities amid Pentagon spending cuts, Lockheed Martin executives say they’re aggressively pursuing missile defense business in the Middle East and Europe, and hope to make a controversial program the centerpiece of this effort.


The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), a partnership between the United States, Italy and Germany, is gearing up for its final test in November, after which the US Army — after spending $2 billion on the program — will back out, leaving its two European partners to decide what to do next.


Germany and Italy have long vowed to continue work on the 360-degree missile-detection radar system. However, there is little chance they can pool the money to make up for the US funding that will go away.


Still, Mike Trotsky, vice president of Air & Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, which has helped develop the program, told reporters on Tuesday that the company is looking at a Polish missile defense program as a possible landing pad for MEADS.


“The Poles have the most mature acquisition that’s going on right now,” he said. “But we see a market for anybody who has aging short to medium-range air missile defense systems.”


Trotsky also said that the German and Italian governments might also be able to join with the Polish government to keep MEADS going after the Americans pull the plug, incorporating it into a larger Europe-wide missile defense system.


There are other opportunities for the system elsewhere in the Middle East and Asia, he said, where governments “have expressed informal interest, but nothing as formal as the Polish program, which actually has a budget.”


MEADS would have to beat out other European and Israeli systems to win the Polish deal.


While the US Army is backing out of continued funding for the program, Congress has mandated that the government consider harvesting what it can from the $2 billion investment already made in developing the system.


“The US also has a 30-year plan for air and missile defense that runs into the tens of billions of dollars,” Trotsky pointed out. Since Lockheed has developed two modern sensors, “I suspect what you’ll see is that those items get merged” into the long-term missile defense strategy, he said.


A day before Trotsky’s comments, Lockheed announced that a German launcher had arrived in the United States for integration ahead to the November test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.


MEADS had a successful intercept test there last November using the Italian configuration launcher, and MEADS authorities are planning to use the two European launchers in this year’s two-target flight test.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
German Variant MEADS Launcher Arrives for Integration into Flight Test Configuration

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 10, 2013 – lockheedmartin.com


The first Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) launcher on a German truck has arrived in the United States, ready for integration into a future test scenario.


Based on the success of the intercept test last November at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., MEADS authorities are planning to use two launchers in the two-target flight test scheduled for later this year. The original launcher is in the Italian configuration and has been used in previous tests. Originally, only the Italian-configured launcher was planned for use in this year’s flight test.


In addition to the Italian and German configuration launchers, there is also a U.S. design that is easily transportable and tactically mobile. Each MEADS launcher can carry up to eight PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Missiles and achieve launch readiness in just minutes.


The MEADS launchers have two main features that stand out from the air and missile defense (AMD) launchers currently fielded. The first is the ability of the MEADS launchers to self-load. An integrated crane arm can pick up and release expended missile packs, then grab and position a full eight-missile reload within minutes. The second is the ability to launch the PAC-3 MSE in a near-vertical position to defend assets in all 360 degrees of possible attack space.


In two previous tests at White Sands Missile Range, the MEADS launchers have demonstrated unprecedented over-the-shoulder launches of a PAC-3 MSE against targets attacking from behind.


“360-degree coverage has become increasingly important as our nations deal with evolving threats from highly maneuverable cruise missiles to easily re-locatable short- and medium-range tactical ballistic missiles,” said NATO MEADS Management Agency (NAMEADSMA) General Manager Gregory Kee. “As our forces enter future conflicts, the threat will no longer stay in front of them – that’s why the investment in MEADS 360-degree technology is so important.”


Using its 360-degree defensive capability and advanced radars, MEADS can defend up to eight times the coverage area of other systems while deploying far fewer system assets. MEADS needs fewer deployed personnel and less equipment to get to the fight sooner.


“MEADS can see and intercept 21st century threats from farther away without blind spots,” said MEADS International President Dave Berganini. “The networked, plug-and-fight MEADS system elements continue to demonstrate capabilities of an AMD force of the future that also dramatically reduces operational and support costs.”


MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Germany and Italy, and Lockheed Martin in the United States. MBDA Germany is the Design Authority for the MEADS launcher.


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

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4 septembre 2013 3 04 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
MEADS System to Identify Friend Or Foe Aircraft

MEADS System to Identify Friend Or Foe Aircraft

Sep 4, 2013 ASDNews Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation


    First Non-U.S. Cryptographic System Cleared For U.S. Use



The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system has been certified for operation. MEADS became the first U.S. system approved to incorporate a non-U.S. cryptographic device in 2009.


Certification by the U.S. Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System Identification Friend or Foe Mark XII/XIIA System (AIMS) Program Office is a significant accomplishment for the MEADS program. Mode 5 is more secure and provides positive line-of-sight identification of friendly platforms equipped with an IFF transponder to better differentiate between friend and foe.


“No other air and missile defense system has more ability to identify friendly aircraft,” said NATO MEADS Management Agency (NAMEADSMA) General Manager Gregory Kee. “This AIMS certification confirms that both MEADS radars provide the highest level of protection to allied pilots in coalition combat.”


The approved IFF system is used in both MEADS 360-degree radar configurations. The Surveillance Radar is a 360-degree, active electronically steered array radar that provides extended range coverage. The Multifunction Fire Control Radar is a 360-degree X-band, solid-state, phased array radar that provides precision tracking and wideband discrimination and classification capabilities. Both radars provide threat detection capability against highly maneuverable low-signature threats, including short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and other air-breathing threats.


“MEADS offers coverage and flexibility that other systems cannot provide, including complete 360-degree defense that protects military sites and civilians against next-generation threats,” said MEADS International President Dave Berganini. “Its advanced solid-state architecture is more reliable than fielded systems, yet with fewer end items, MEADS can provide eight times the coverage. Reduced personnel and maintenance requirements save billions of dollars in operating costs.”

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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 11:50
Salon du Bourget : L’Allemagne prête à recevoir son système MEADS

20.06.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


A la suite d’une conférence donnée ce 19 juin concernant le système MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defence System), Walter Stammler, président du conseil d’administration de MEADS, a déclaré que l’Allemagne était tout à fait prête à recevoir son système de défense anti-aérienne de nouvelle génération : « L’Allemagne est prête à réceptionner le système MEADS, à l’adapter et à l’intégrer à l’ensemble de son système de défense aérienne ».


Pour Walter Stammler, le but est également d’intégrer MEADS au sein des systèmes de défense aérienne qui existent déjà – Mantis et Patriot entre autres – afin de créer un système global et plus efficace.


Concernant les délais, le président du conseil d’administration s’est montré plus réservé, évoquant deux obstacles majeurs : Les élections parlementaires qui doivent se tenir en septembre prochain et le scandale EuroHawk qui secoue actuellement la sphère politique et médiatique. « Le sujet principal en ce moment c’est l’EuroHawk, MEADS est pour l’instant passé en arrière-plan, je ne suis pas en mesure de donner de date précise pour le transport du système vers l’Allemagne », a précisé Walter Stammler, qui est tout de même convaincu que « ça ne durera pas des années ».


Il ajoute que le gouvernement allemand a tout intérêt à mettre en œuvre ce système, en raison des sommes engagées (autour d’un milliard d’euros), mais également parce qu’il « n’existe pas de pareil système au monde ».


Le système MEADS est composé de radars à 360°, de lanceurs transportables et de missiles. Il est destiné à contrer toute attaque de missiles balistiques, de missiles de croisière, de drones et d’avions. Walter Stammler précise que le système est aisément transportable par A400M, des manœuvres de « roll on » et de « roll off » ayant déjà été effectuées.


« Le système est prévu pour la défense intérieure mais également pour les théâtres d’opérations, c’est pour cela qu’il a été conçu pour être rapidement transporté et mis en œuvre. On pourrait tout à fait reproduire le schéma des Patriot en Turquie avec ce système, mais avec encore plus d’efficacité », conclut Walter Stammler.

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13 juin 2013 4 13 /06 /juin /2013 07:55
Jean-Yves Le Drian et Antoine Bouvier, PDG de MBDA à Bourges (Crédits G Belan FOB)

Jean-Yves Le Drian et Antoine Bouvier, PDG de MBDA à Bourges (Crédits G Belan FOB)

Jun. 10, 2013 - By Andrew Chuter in Paris. – Defense News


Europe’s top missile maker emerged from the recent publication of the French government’s austerity-driven defense white paper with three big development programs intact — and an endorsement from the administration of President François Hollande that the company’s strategy to restructure its French and UK capabilities in France toward specialization and mutual dependency could be a model for the defense sector.


The white paper’s support for Europe, and particularly the 2010 Anglo-French defense treaty, would have been music to the ears of MBDA Chief Executive Antoine Bouvier, whose company has assets and shareholders in Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.


Challenges remain, though. MBDA has to nail down contracts for the three programs confirmed by the white paper: a longer-range Aster air defense system, a new medium-range anti-tank missile and the anti-ship missile that France is launching with Britain. It also must resolve the future of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) missile program in the wake of the US decision to pull the plug on funding.


Outside of Europe, a big deal to develop a short-range surface-to-air missile with India awaits approval from New Delhi, and Bouvier admits efforts to make a significant breakthrough into the US market are taking longer than expected.


Q. What was the strategic message you took from the French government’s decision to approve three key missile programs in its recent defense white paper?


A. As a company with shareholders and assets across Europe, it was very important for MBDA that when the white paper was published, it was Euro-minded, and it was. Clearly, the French government has a focus and vision about Europe at the industrial and strategic level. That was clear in the missile decision taken in its support of the defense treaty with the UK. The missile sector that MBDA leads in France and in the UK is specifically referred to in the document as the model for integrating the defense industry in Europe. What is also key for us was the white paper’s recognition that the defense industry is an essential component of France’s wider strategic policy.


Interview: Antoine Bouvier, Chief Executive, MBDA

Q. How crucial to your integration aims was the French decision to go ahead with the launch of the anti-ship missile program with the British?


A. It’s provided confirmation of the decision made in the 2010 Anglo-French defense treaty to use the missile sector, and ANL/FASGW [anti-navire léger/future air-to-surface guided weapon] in particular, as the test case to prove the feasibility of a specialization and a policy of mutually agreed dependency. Our model is now confirmed as a possible template for further integration in Europe, and this was taken into account in the French decision to move ahead with the program in spite of difficult economic conditions and very difficult timing. France also confirmed through this program its commitment to Anglo-French cooperation.


Q. What happens now to test the mutual dependency and specialization model between France and the UK?


A. The ANL/FASGW launch will trigger implementation of our centers-of-excellence strategy. We have identified 12 centers in the Anglo-French context. The most optimized capability in the two countries will be used, depending on the requirement. This is something new in Europe. Previously, we have had cooperation through programs. Now, we will remove duplication with the integration of capabilities across two of our countries.


Four of the centers will offer specialized capabilities supplying French and British collaborative and national programs. France will be responsible for test benches and onboard computers; in the UK, it’s actuators and data links. It means each time we have a new program or a significant evolution of an existing program, we allocate activities in line with this.


Q. With Anglo-French operations working to one policy, and your German and Italian partners adhering to another set of rules, isn’t this an imperfect model on which to base European restructuring?


A. I would say it is a model in the making rather than an imperfect model, but it is taking time. The history of MBDA has been step-by-step consolidation into a European group. We make progress where we can, but we have to be pragmatic. We have an opportunity with the Anglo-French sector through the defense treaty and the initiative on the centers of excellence to move forward, and we are having discussions to extend what has been agreed to the other MBDA operations in Europe.

Interview: Antoine Bouvier, Chief Executive, MBDA

Q. When do you expect to get the new missile programs under contract?


A. The objective is to sign the ANL/FASGW anti-ship missile contract in the next few months, certainly by the end of this year. The higher-performance, new-technology version of the Aster 30 Block 1 [B1NT] will be 2014 at the earliest. B1NT is not just the development of a new missile, it is part of the global Aster evolutionary map, which now explicitly includes naval capability improvements. The missile moyenne portee [MMP] battlefield weapon has been confirmed as a priority, and we are setting out to get the program under contract by the end of the year.


Interview: Antoine Bouvier, Chief Executive, MBDA

Q. Is the MMP a French national program, or are you looking for partners?


A. For the moment, it’s a French program. But we also see that for other versions of the weapon, like a long-range model, we could open the program to cooperation from Europe and elsewhere.


MEADS launcher in the integration hall. (Photo MBDA)

MEADS launcher in the integration hall. (Photo MBDA)

Q. Will you be able to rescue anything from the MEADS program now that the US government has decided to end funding?


A. Cooperation between Italy and Germany on MEADS has allowed us to build high-level capabilities in this sector of extended air defense, and our plan is to build on these assets and propose to the two governments a follow-on to MEADS. US funding will continue up to 2014, and beyond that, we have to agree [on] the way forward with the German and Italian defense ministries. We are currently discussing several options, including finding new partners [identified as Poland by Italian government officials], and Lockheed Martin retaining participation in the next phase of the program.


Interview: Antoine Bouvier, Chief Executive, MBDA

Q. The Joint Strike Fighter program continues to mature, but so far, you have only the advanced, short-range, air-to-air missile (ASRAAM) signed up for integration. What progress are you making with other weapons for the F-35?


A. The feasibility of getting the Meteor air-to-air missile integrated on the platform has been confirmed by a UK Ministry of Defence study, and we are making good progress on having our weapon included as part of the upcoming Block 4 improvements on the F-35. We are having discussions with several F-35 partners to take the Meteor on the platform. Very positive discussions are ongoing with Lockheed Martin on integrating weapons like Brimstone, Storm Shadow and Spear.


SPEAR high precision surface attack weapon for combat aircraft

SPEAR high precision surface attack weapon for combat aircraft

Q. Does becoming a significant player in the US market remain a priority?


A. We may adjust our plans, but the US remains an important part of our strategy. It is taking more time than expected and is even more challenging in this time of budget restrictions. The constraints could bring with them opportunities if the customer is seeking more competition, combat-proven equipment and mature technologies.


Q. You have had a deal on the table with India since 2011 to develop short-range air defense missiles. What’s the position on that?


A. It’s our objective to get a decision this year on the short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) program agreed with the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation [DRDO]. You have to keep in mind this cooperation is just part of a much larger scheme involving radars [and] command-and-control [systems] which are 100 percent Indian, so the decision is not just on the missile, but the whole system. We have offered a significant amount of tech transfer for long-term cooperation on short-range air defense with DRDO.




We have other opportunities in India, including the Air Force’s down-selection of ASRAAM for their Jaguar strike aircraft. Those negotiations are continuing. Overall, MBDA, supported by our governments, is prepared to enter into large-scale, very ambitious, long-term technical cooperation with Indian partners. Foreign ownership limitations are certainly restricting the type of technology transfer that we could implement for this type of joint venture, but we think in the medium term, this will evolve into a more open scheme.


Q. What sort of company will MBDA look like in five years?


A. I want MBDA to be an even more global player with an extended product range and greater market coverage. We are looking for a strong position in India, as well as more partners and cooperations elsewhere outside Europe. It is also about strengthening our position inside Europe, starting with Spain. Poland also is very important.


In terms of integration of the company, we want to move further along the lines we are implementing on the Anglo-French defense treaty.


Q. What do you want your legacy to be when you leave MBDA?


A. Leaving MBDA is not on my agenda today, but when I do, it would be to depart having reinforced the company’s position as a global player and an industrial leader in Europe. ■

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