Military Embedded Systems

MEADS X-Band radar starts system-level integration testing


April 23, 2012

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

ROME, ITALY. The first Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR) started testing at Pratica di Mare Air Force Base, which is just outside of Rome, Italy. The system-level tests help the system prepare for an intercept flight test later this year. The advanced 360-degree rotating X-band radar finished initial performance tests at a near-field facility at SELEX Sistemi Integrati SpA in Rome. At Pratica di Mare, program engineers will start system-level integration tests using a MEADS battle manager and launcher.

Prime contractor MEADS International is a multinational joint venture that is based in Orlando, Fla. Key subcontractors and joint venture partners are Lockheed Martin in the U.S. and MBDA in Italy and Germany. The MEADS program management agency NAMEADSMA is based in Huntsville, Ala.

System-level test objectives consist of performance verification and demonstration of the MEADS MFCR in the system configuration. MFCR will showcase key functionalities such as 360-degree target acquisition and track using dedicated flight tests as well as non-military aircraft.

The MFCR is a solid-state X-band, phased array radar that uses element-level transmit/receive modules. It has precision tracking as well as wideband discrimination and classification capabilities. During rapid deployments, the MEADS MFCR provides surveillance and fire control capabilities until a surveillance radar can join the network. The radar uses its main beam for uplink and downlink missile communications. It also has an advanced Mode 5 identify friend-or-foe subsystem for improved non-cooperative threat identification and typing capability.

The MFCR essentially acts as a node on the MEADS network. The battle manager enables a commander to add or subtract sensors and shooters as the situation evolves without shutting the system down.

An initial MEADS flight test took place at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., late last year. Two more intercept tests are planned for White Sands Missile Range.


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