Wagging the MEADS dog

Wagging the MEADS dog

PARIS – Lockheed Martin executives spent 30 minutes announcing another MEADS milestone here at the Eurosatory international land warfare conference. This time the officials dutifully stood up and told the group of mostly European defense reporters how the first Medium Extended Air Defense System’s power and communications unit completed testing in Germany.

It took less than 30 seconds for the group of reporters in attendance to ask why any of it mattered unless the U.S. Congress had a sudden change of heart. The setting was Paris, but again the fate of the program that includes Italy, Germany and the U.S. will fall to the Americans, the country responsible for 58 percent of the funding.

Congress will decide if the tri-national missile defense program originally designed to replace Patriot will live past 2012. Congress spent the most recent round of budget hearings ripping the program the U.S. Army has already decided it will not field.Then it left out the $400 million requested by the Pentagon to continue development in 2013.

Army Secretary John McHugh sat in front of Congress and sheepishly explained that his staff didn’t sign the contract that has saddled the Pentagon with $800 million in cancellation fees paid to Lockheed Martin for the failed missile defense program.

Lockheed Martin executives insisted the three countries will get a chance to harvest technologies for the $3.4 billion contract signed back in 2004. Walter Stammler, a German who serves as the chairman for the board of directors for MEADS International, and Guido Lami, vice president for MBDA-Italy, said their two respective countries supported the program. Marty Coyne, the  business development executive for the MEADS program, said the U.S. also supports the program.

Of course, no one invited U.S. Sen. John McCain, minority leader of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who has loudly criticized the program. He and seven other senators from both sides of the aisle signed a letter saying “we cannot afford to spend a single additional dollar on a weapons system such as MEADS that our warfighters will never use.”

McCain went on to scold Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for not following Congressional instructions to negotiate the cancellation of the program with Italy and Germany or finish it in 2012. He then wrote in his own letter to the Pentagon: “I am disappointed that the Department has chosen to ignore current law and congressional direction by requesting an additional $400 million for MEADS in fiscal year 2013 to continue the ‘proof of concept’ that Congress instructed be completed utilizing no more funding than the level appropriated for fiscal year 2012.”

Despite proof to the contrary, Coyne says he expects that change of heart to occur and Congress to reverse its decision to reject funding in 2013 for MEADS development. His logic is the program that has been unpopular for years has still received funding. Why not again in 2013?

The problem is the growing specter that sequestration will occur and the Pentagon will have to stomach an additional half trillion dollars worth of cuts. To bring the MEADS funding back they’d have to cut something else from a sparse budget to free up money for the program the U.S. has no plans to field.

Coyne said Lockheed Martin has not talked to Congress about lowering the cost for cancellation fees that members of Congress have threatened not to pay. He said Lockheed Martin will continue to proceed as if they will continue development in 2013 and find ways to harvest the technology for the missile defense program that will not be deployed.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Stammler and Lami as Lockheed Martin employees.

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Not surprised still find it interesting Except tor 3 systems in the last 20 years the M-163, the Avenger and the Patriot SAM the US lacks land based anti-aircraft systems Russia and China have alot of SAMs and AAAs systems we lack all but for a few units and systems maybe we should adopt this system.

did he say ‘sparse budget? 2nd to last paragraph SPARSE BUDGET?!

let’s see, mccain is from arizona, hum, could lockheed’s competitor (starts with an r), be from arizona? totally unbiased response from johnny

Adopt and mobilize and modernize high frequency long distance penetration MTHEL ground, space and air base lasers in addition to the missile shields.

LM is selling PAC-3 MSEs to the US Army regardless. (Same missile.)

I don’t know why… But I feel nausea now.

We Americans usually skip the AA because of our massive numbers of fighter and bomber aircraft. No point in buying, training, manning, maintaining AA if you’ve got a few hundred fighter aircraft on the way.

The Patriot was meant to take down ICBM’s with big telephone pole missiles of solid steel, or whatever it’s made out of. Kinetic impact. I know of an instance in Iraq, I think DS era, where Patriot downed two friendly fighter aircraft because they didn’t squak while heading to the base.

I think Patriot and AF/Navy can handle the air just fine. Even in Vietnam, where being attacked by enemy air was possible, most of our AA weapons were used as anti-personell weapons… To glorious effect I might add. No, sir, I just don’t see the need for a new/additional AA system.

The Patriot was designed to engage enemy air. Its ABM capability was an unexpected plus.

One cannot rely on the Patriot for all AA capability. You don’t know when tech/enemy might find a way to defeat it. There’s also a multitude of reasons for MANPAD and close/medium vehicle mounted AA systems. (e.g. early entry, light infantry ops, sustained heavy ops).

MEADS might not be needed but the Patriot, Navy/AF isn’t adequate for air defense.

Lance, the US Army doesnt need a bunch of air defense systems like the Russians do. The Army is already defended from air attack by the most successful air defense organization in history…the USAF.

Yes and no. PAC-2 (the one you’re thinking of) was designed to hit aircraft and tactical missiles (like Lance). PAC-3 is ERINT which came from FLAGE/SHRIT and has been specifically designed as a missile interceptor from the very beginning. PAC-3 MSE is simply an improved PAC-3. PAC-3 has hit manuevering Pershing II RVs so to say it was “an unexpected plus” couldn’t be more wrong.

Probably because you’re a liberal. I’d be feeling nausea too if I were one.

Patriot was NEVER designed to “take down ICBM’s” and wouldn’t have a hope in hell of doing so.

I don’t think the Desert Storm-era Patriot was a kinetic-kill weapon. It was an “explode near the target” type warhead and was pressed into service to counter Iraq’s Scuds when it was designed for enemy aircraft. I think this is what Maj Rod was referring to when he described killing incoming missiles as a bonus feature. I remember reading articles during the war where the batteries had to fire a dozen missiles to hit a single Scud because it wasn’t quite what they were designed to do, but they did pretty well. In OIF, the kill ratio was almost 1:1.

I do agree the USAF dose a great job but in some situations like US Army in North Africa in 43 and South pacific in 42 or like Israel in early 73 sometime you need a back up air superiority is never granted.

Sferrin – We going to do this again? Did you read the post I was responding to? “The Patriot was meant to take down ICBM’s…” Do you research before you type?

The Patriot started development in ’75 to replace the Hawk as an anti aircraft system. It was fielded as an AA system in ’84. Four years LATER with PAC I (not 3) the Patriot achieved its first and limited ABM capability. The PAC 3 version to an already fielded Patriot was designed from the ground up as an ABM system. For the Patriot to go from an anti aircraft system to a robust ABM system was “an unexpected plus”. Just like the German 88 from WWII fame started as an AA gun and became a legendary AT/MBT gun of WWII.

There is quite a difference in comparing the roles SAMs in the 21st century to M42 Dusters and M163 in the 1960’s. The first is that the North Vietnamese Air Force never ventured below the DMZ prior to the US withdrawal and so AAA systems could be used against ground targets. The second is that SAM could never be used in a ground role like AAA and the third is that AAA will never be tasked to intercept ballistic missiles.

We can assume that we will always have air superiority ( just like we assumed we’d never be fighting guys in pajamas with AKs ad RPGs ever again after Vietnam) OR We can try to factor in situations where we will require robust air-defenses in case Murphy rears his head.

The problem with MEADS was expense AND the system needing 3(!) radars.

We have Warrant Officers (140A) and Soldiers (94S) who have decades of experience. Lockheed sees $$$ and thinks they can do our jobs. The fire control radar for MEADS has no parts in common with PATRIOT and has no parts in US inventory. It may be a good radar, but it would be a maintenance headache.

Fielding a new system while we’re still at war is hard. In this budget climate, it’s a no-go.

MEADS has a rotating radar for 360 degree coverage and Patriot has a fixed radar. The reason MEADS is not gong to be fielded by the US Army is that it fires the Pariot missile and the US Army already has Patriot batteries. The idea with MEADS was to reduce the number of support personnel and increase the number of batteries under central control. MEADS may still contribute the the missile defense technology base for otehr future systems.

Yeah… Although this feeling is only amplified by being called a liberal. I am, no doubt. But the brand of liberal makes me think of overbearing hippies and extremist activists.

Oh, sferrin… How you’ve rustled my jimmies this morning. Well played.

You don’t know the difference between PAC-2 and PAC-3 do you? Might I suggest you educate yourself before wasting everybody’s time? Oh, and read my post again. Apparently nothing I said sunk in.

Thanks for parroting back to me what I said.

Go back and read — again — what I said. “Patriot” i.e. PAC-1, PAC-2/2+/2GEM, are one line of missiles. And yes, PAC-1 was designed FROM THE START to be able to take down tactical ballistic missile (which SCUD is NOT). Think Lance, Pluton, etc. PAC-3 is an entirely different missile who’s lineage is FLAGE/SHRIT, ERINT, PAC-3, PAC-3 MSE. By all means, feel free to be smug and condecending but you might want to make sure what you thought you read was ACTUALLY what was said. Be honest, had you ever even heard of FLAGE/SHRIT before I mentioned them in my other post?

Incorrect. Patriot (PAC-1) was designed from the start to be able to shoot down missiles such a Lance (which SCUD is NOT). Lance and SCUD are not anywhere near the same in target difficulty.

Ugh, PAC1 was fielded in ’88. Patriot was fielded in ’84. What do you think it was firing before PAC1? Rocks?

The Patriot became an outstanding ABM capable system. It didn’t start that way (which is my point). PAC stands for Patriot Advanced Capability. There was a time BEFORE “advanced capability”. Google the MIM-104A Patriot Missile or the “standard”.

Not smug but I am shaking my head. (Thanks Tim)

Patriot was designed to take out short range ballistic missiles (as in Lance-type) from the beginning in addition to aircraft. Go open any history on the program and you’ll see that. SCUD is NOT in that class. Shaking your head won’t change that fact. And PAC-3 became an outstanding ABM. PAC-2 varients are still lacking. (You do realize that both PAC-2 and PAC-3 missiles are part of the same system yet completely different missiles right?)

The US Army will get the MEADS missile. “MEADS” and PAC-3 MSE are the same missile.

Dammit. I HATe conficting information.

From http://​www​.history​.army​.mil/​b​o​o​k​s​/​w​w​w​/​W​W​W​A​P​E​N​A​.HT

“During Reagan’s first term the Pentagon had a large budget, and work on fielding and improving the Patriot accelerated. After overcoming some reliability problems, the Patriot was issued in 1985 to units of the 32d Army Air Defense Command, a major subordinate command of U.S. Army, Europe. At this point, the Patriot was capable only of shooting down aircraft, including helicopters. A major effort to improve the capabilities of the Patriot system was already under way.”


“Studies for an advanced surface-to-air missile to supplement and eventually replace the MIM-23 Hawk already began in 1961 under the FABMDS (Field Army Ballistic Missile Defense System) program. The name was later changed to AADS-70 (Army Air-Defense System — 1970), and finally in 1964 to SAM-D (Surface-to-Air Missile — Development). Specifications were vague and changed frequently, but always included not only the ability to counter aircraft threats of all types, but also an anti-TBM (Theater Ballistic Missiles, a.k.a. short-range ballistic missiles) capability.”

The most important changes to the Patriot system were made by the PAC (Patriot Advanced Capability, originally Patriot Anti-TBM Capability) program. The interim PAC-1 modification, first flight tested against an MGM-52 Lance target missile in September 1986, incorporated only software changes to the search and track algorithms and the phased-array radar (the maximum elevation angle of the latter was increased from 45° to almost 90°). Because the Patriot missile itself was unchanged, no new MIM-104 designation was allocated. The first PAC-1 systems were fielded in July 1988.

“Patriot was designed to take out short range ballistic missiles (as in Lance-type) from the beginning in addition to aircraft.”

No. You are refering to the MIM-104B or PAC 1 missile. The system was fielded with the MIM-104A “Standard” missile that did not have an ABM capability.

“Designed in the late 1970s as an anti-aircraft weapon, the Patriot was modified in the mid-1980s to defend against ballistic missiles as well.” http://​www​.pbs​.org/​w​g​b​h​/​p​a​g​e​s​/​f​r​o​n​t​l​i​n​e​/​g​u​l​f​/​w​eap

“Patriot. American surface-to-air missile. Standard Army surface-to-air missile. Later versions had anti-tactical missile capability.” http://​www​.astronautix​.com/​l​v​s​/​p​a​t​r​i​o​t​.​htm

And even wiki…
“Patriot was first introduced with a single missile type: the MIM-104A. This was the initial “Standard” missile (still known as “Standard” today). In Patriot’s early days, the system was used exclusively as an anti-aircraft weapon, with no capability against ballistic missiles. This was remedied during the late 1980s when Patriot received its first major system overhaul with the introduction of the Patriot Advanced Capability missile and concurrent system upgrades.” http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​M​I​M​-​1​0​4​_​P​a​t​r​iot

You may not like it but we aren’t allowed our own facts.

Read my last two posts.

Read my first one.

“MEADS might not be needed but the Patriot, Navy/AF isn’t adequate for air defense. ”

This? I missed that little jewel. PAC-3 MSE is the missile the MEADS system uses. In fact the PAC-3 MSE was developed for the Patriot system and then got selected for MEADS. Not even sure what “Navy/AF” is suppose to mean.

You have to read the post in context. It’s a conversation. I was contesting that the Patriot, Navy and Air Force (AF) assets are enough for air defense.

MEADS is more than just the PAC-3.

It’s not that hard or complicated.

R is based in Massachusetts and that is where AMD work is produced.

It’s a valid system for the the US ARMY. It would seem as if they’re just trying to protect their GV project funding at any cost. But the system itself is a valid future air defense system and good cooperative dela. Maybe transfer the budget out of Army’s $290Bn baseline and give it to Air Force instead?

Ironically, this system would be ideal as a NATO missile defense ‘compromise’, at least as a starting point, which could be downplayed as non-threatening to Kremlin leadership (face saving for them) and marketed merely as a joint-venture project in the works for many years and basic Air Defense Program. If the Kremlin can arm Assad regime with high-end next-gen IADS systems as well as next-gen supersonic cruise missiles and pass it off as mere defensive and non-threatening, then there’s no problem or threat with NATO arming itself with next-gen defensive systems!

It’s really irrelevant whether or not it’s high-maintenance, or if it’s expensive, or if it’s replacing human operators (last time I checked, modern frigates/destroyers/helicopter ships today require a whole lot fewer sailors on board compared to olden day ships, to perform even superior capability).

What’s relevant is whether or not it’s effective enough to fill a next-gen ‘high-end’ requirement and an increased capability over the current system to warrant the investment. If it provides the ‘high end’ and strategic oriented capability and is reliable, then cost is sometimes acceptable as a trade-off.

For example, one could be arguing whether or not the US ever should have invested in and procured the Patriot system in the first place, if we already had the Hawk system.

Personally, if you want to write off a Program as sunk costs as a means to consolidate, it should probably be the THAADS. Maybe keep and carry over certain components such as the radar (which is probably pretty maintenance hungry itself), but the system as a whole might be more comprehensibly mixed with a combined MEADS and future SM-3 block capability.

Geoff, the THAAD system works. 11th ADA just sent a unit to Hawaii and they shot down 2 targets with 2 missiles. It’s not sunk costs, it’s that MEADS would be a maintance nightmare.

The AN/TPY-2 is a finiky beast but since it has no, none, 0% compatibility with existing radars we don’t have soldiers who can fix it. Contractors have to do 60–70% of the maintenance beyond removing parts.

For MEADS that would be >90%. The Warrants and senior NCO’s would all have to be retrained because there is no way in **** they’d let a private fresh out of basic and AIT touch those radars without someone to watch him. My friends in A-2 ADA had to get a 6 month course just to be licensed on the equipment.

AEGIS ashore (SM-3’s with a land-based AEGIS radar and C-I-C) is an off-the self system. It may work with a AN/TPY-2 now that we have soldiers and sailors who can turn the wrenches. Both systems are going to units that are being stood up.

MEADS means too much money in training for units that have a wartime mission. Asking a unit in South Korea or the UAE to depend on a system that’s still in development during “wartime” is asking a lot.

Just want to know if we have the MEADS system too to defend our (USA) homeland?

We should have at least more than 2000 of these meads. The chicons, the russi, nickon and iranies can strike by the thousands base on their missile numbers and threats.


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