The tri-national Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has successfully completed certification testing for its advanced Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system at Pratica di Mare Air Force Base in Italy.
All friend or foe identification scenarios were fully tested in collaboration with the U.S. Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System Identification Friend or Foe Mark XII/XIIA System (AIMS) Program Office. The MEADS IFF system completed 160 tests during certification testing. Additional tests were also conducted with the Italian National Security Agency after the IFF was integrated onto a MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar.
“MEADS is designed to maximize the system’s ability to identify friendly aircraft,” said MEADS International Technical Director Marco Riccetti. “The MEADS IFF subsystem was selected for both radars in order to provide a robust IFF system. They provide the highest level of fratricide prevention available to protect allied pilots.”
The IFF system is incorporated into both MEADS 360-degree radar configurations and uses a cryptographic computer developed by Italy’s SELEX Sistemi Integrati. MEADS became the first non-U.S. cryptographic system cleared for U.S. use.
“The MEADS system offers coverage and flexibility that other systems cannot provide, including complete 360-degree defense that protects military sites and civilians against next-generation threats,” said NATO MEADS Management Agency (NAMEADSMA) General Manager Gregory Kee. “Its advanced solid-state architecture is more reliable than fielded systems, yet with the same number of batteries MEADS can provide eight times the coverage. Reductions in personnel and maintenance can save billions of dollars in operating costs.”
MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy and Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States.
The MEADS program management agency, NAMEADSMA, is located in Huntsville, Ala.