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Defense

Germany opts for 'next generation' missile defense system MEADS

Germany has concluded a deal to buy the state of the art MEADS missile defense system. Bundeswehr chief of staff Volker Wieker has approved the deal, according to media reports.

The German government has opted for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) built by American defense contractor Lockheed Martin and the European defense group MBDA, instead of the Patriot system developed by American defense contractor Raytheon Corporation.

The deal follows a months-long bidding war between both defense parties.

Raytheon Patriot Raketen

Germany's Patriot system was developed in the 1980s

German television channel ARD reported that the procurement order could be worth 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion), adding that it had been approved by Volker Wieker, chief of staff of the Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces.

Germany has long sought to upgrade its current missile defense system comprised of Patriot missile equipment developed in the 1980s by Raytheon.

'Warfighter'

The venture to develop the state of the art defense system was taken up by euroMBDA, which includes MBDA Deutschland, MBDA Italy, and Lockheed Martin.

The MBDA said in a statement last year that MEADS "combines superior battlefield protection with new flexibility to protect forces and critical assets against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems (drones) and aircraft."

Earlier this year, Lockheed CEO Marillyn A. Hewson said the defense contractor was developing "the next generation of missile defense technology, focusing on effective, mobile, affordable, and adaptable systems," adding that MEADS "fits that mold."

"Each MEADS element is lightweight and truck-mounted, with rotating radars and advanced launchers to provide 360-degree coverage capability to the warfighter. It's no wonder that MEADS is a candidate for the national defense system of a number of European countries, including Germany and Italy," Hewson said.

ls/ksb (AFP, Reuters)

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