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Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS)
MEADS is a transatlantic cooperative effort between the United States, Germany, and Italy to develop an air and missile defense system that is tactically mobile and transportable. It will be capable of countering tactical ballistic missiles and air-breathing threats, including cruise missiles. MEADS will improve the limited area defense of vital assets, both civilian and military, as well as provide capability to move with and protect the maneuver forces. MEADS will provide coalition forces with a system capability that is currently not available: a weapon system that can be deployed where it is needed with the versatility to provide force and asset protection during all phases of military operations. It will be employed either in combination with other systems as part of an integrated air defense, or individually in stand-alone operations.
The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), formerly the Corps SAM program, is the only Theater Missile Defense system under consideration to provide maneuver forces with 360 degree defense protection against the real and growing threat of short-range tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. This system is intended to provide fundamental enhancements in tactical mobility, strategic deployability, and operational capability. Key in this regard will be transportability on C-130 aircraft as a highly mobile system designed to protect our forward deployed and maneuvering forces. MEADS would replace Hawk, and some portion of Patriot. DOD plans to defer equipping three Patriot battalions with PAC-3 pending a decision on development and deployment of MEADS.