MEADS International, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin and MBDA divisions in Germany and Italy, has made an attractive offer to Poland to join the consortium as an equal partner. The trinational MEADS team is pitching its Medium Extended Air Defence System for Poland’s Wisla requirement, part of the wider ‘Shield of Poland’ programme to implement a layered air defence network.
This year is a critical one for the MEADS programme. With the development contract soon to expire and the USA having withdrawn from the production phase, the addition of Poland to the team would be a boost. A tender for the Wisla requirement is expected soon, and later this year Germany is expected to make a final selection for its own air defence requirements. If Poland chooses MEADS, it is likely to be offered a deal under which Polish industry would become a full partner with a third of the company.
Lockheed Martin would retain a third, while the remainder would be taken by MBDA. Current breakdown is approximately 58 per cent for LM, 25 per cent for MBDA-Germany and 18 per cent for MBDA-Italy. Poland is being offered up to 150 per cent of the contract value in related workshare, which might include co-production of the PAC-3 MSE hit-to-kill interceptor and assistance with development of a complementary missile.
Meanwhile, MEADS has been trialled successfully, culminating last November in a simultaneous engagement of a QF-4 aerial target and a Lance missile. In July, the system will demonstrate higher echelon interoperability in an exercise at Pratica di Mare in Italy. The trial will involve the system drawing on data provided by other assets, including an Italian RAT 31DL-M deployable air defence radar.