MEADS Identification Friend Or Foe (IFF) Subsystem Is First Non-U.S.-Built Cryptographic Device Authorized For Use On A U.S. Platform

ORLANDO/MUNICH/ROME, 10/06/2009 --

The tri-national Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program has received approval to use a European cryptographic device to implement Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), a critical capability that protects friendly aircraft from engagement by air defenses. For U.S. MEADS systems, a waiver from the U.S. National Security Agency makes MEADS the first U.S. system ever to incorporate a non-U.S. cryptographic device.

Italy's SELEX Sistemi Integrati manufactures these state-of-the-art MEADS IFF units, which meet European, U.S. and NATO standards for identification of military and civilian aircraft, and fulfill a defined set of additional requirements for MEADS.

As part of a comprehensive solution to maximize the system's ability to identify friendly aircraft, the MEADS UHF Surveillance Radar and X-Band Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR) have greater range and more sensitivity than legacy radars. The selected SELEX IFF subsystem packaged into both radars is now more robust than current implementations of U.S. IFF systems, providing increased assurance of successfully recognizing friendly aircraft.

"As a tri-national cooperative program, MEADS continues to benefit from the best engineering and technical expertise of each nation," said MEADS International President Steve Barnoske. "Our collaboration helps us implement critical capabilities and, in the case of IFF, provide the highest level of fratricide prevention available to protect allied pilots."

SELEX leads U.S. industry in IFF development because Europe has already adopted new standards for radar operation and civilian aircraft. The U.S. is moving to adopt these standards in the future.

"The MEADS IFF subsystem performs multiple identification modes and is interoperable with NATO forces," said MI Executive Vice President Klaus Riedel. "Interoperability is essential for our nations to engage in coalition fighting. Improvements in IFF have always been a high design priority for MEADS."

Selection of the SELEX unit means that the MEADS IFF subsystem is available to begin testing this fall at Pratica di Mare AFB near Rome, Italy, in advance of the scheduled date. MEADS is a mobile Air and Missile Defense System that will incorporate the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE Missile in a system that includes 360-degree surveillance and fire control sensors, netted-distributed battle management/communication centers and high-firepower launchers. The system will combine superior battlefield protection with extensive flexibility, allowing it to protect maneuver forces and critical assets against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft.

MEADS will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operations and once there, will keep pace with fast-moving maneuver forces. MEADS will provide an open architecture for 21st century air and missile defense system-of-system integration capabilities that allow operational mission-tailoring. MEADS will also provide greater firepower with less manpower than current systems, producing dramatic operation and support cost savings.

In May 2005, MEADS International signed a definitized contract valued at $2 billion plus €1.4 billion for MEADS design and development. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, FL, MEADS International's participating companies are MBDA in Italy, LFK in Germany and Lockheed Martin in the United States. The MEADS program is a closely watched model for collaborative transatlantic development of advanced defense systems. Working together to solve a critical global security need, over 1900 American, German, and Italian personnel are directly involved in the MEADS contractor effort.

The United States funds 58 percent of the MEADS program, and European partners Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively. The NAMEADSMA program management agency is located in Huntsville, Alabama.