August 20, 2007 MEADS International has released the first photographs of the highly versatile battle management tactical operations center (TOC) planned for the Medium Extended Air Defense System – a mobile air defense system designed to replace Patriot systems in the United States, Patriot and HAWK systems in Germany, and Nike Hercules systems in Italy.
The MEADS advanced air and missile defense system includes a lightweight launcher, 360-degree fire control and surveillance radars, along with plug-and-fight battle management command and control abilities not found in current systems.
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The MEADS interceptor is the Lockheed Martin PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE), which increases the engagement envelope and defended area over the currently fielded PAC-3 Missile.
Battle management decisions are made in the TOC shelter, which is key to coupling both engagement operations (EO) and force operations (FO) with intra-and inter-system interoperability networks. The German, Italian, U.S, and NATO command and control functionality is packaged in a single-shelter configuration carried on three separate national prime movers, based on national operational preferences.
As the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program advances through a series of Preliminary Design Review (PDR) milestones this summer, prime contractor Each TOC version is capable of nation-specific air transport. There are three workstations in the shelter configuration. However, for normal EO and FO operations, only two operators are required. All equipment within the TOC shelter is ruggedized commercial-off-the-shelf/military-off-the-shelf. The self-contained shelter equipment meets all of the operational, environmental, personal protection and transportability requirements of the International Technical Requirements Document that governs MEADS.
Because the MEADS capability uses an open systems architecture that supports netted-distributed operations, there is no specific allocation of sensors or launchers to a particular TOC. All assignments are made during defense planning optimization and adjusted on a real-time basis as the mission and situation warrants. The broadband plug-and-fight communication network and common air and missile defense (AMD) standard interface enables the system to support multiple air defense systems, in addition to MEADS.
MI President Jim Cravens said, "Germany, Italy and the United States emphasized open architecture, plug-and-fight system capabilities in laying down the requirements for MEADS. The requirements mandate that MEADS must dynamically integrate both MEADS and non-MEADS major end items into a task force. We are also working to a performance objective that the MEADS TOC must be able to function as an AMD Task Force TOC.
"We have invested years of architectural and conceptual work to meet these requirements via an open, modular set of software that gives MEADS great flexibility to accommodate additional requirements. This flexibility offers the U.S. Army an opportunity to leverage the MEADS Battle Manager functionality as a backbone for its IBCS (common TOC) initiative," he said.
The MEADS program is on schedule and remains on track to complete PDR requirements in October 2007.