Lockheed joint venture wins missile defense project

Lockheed Martin Corp. is one of four partners in a joint venture awarded a $3.4 billion contract yesterday to design and develop the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) for the United States, Germany and Italy.

The joint venture, MEADS International Inc., headquartered in Orlando, Fla., also includes European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. of the Netherlands, MBDA-Italia and Lenkflugkoerpersysteme (LFK) of Germany.

The nine-year contract was approved April 20 by the German Parliament, after previously winning approvals from the United States and Italy.

"The MEADS program and its promise of unprecedented capability for the warfighter are moving forward," Jim Berry, president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a news release. "We will now complete development of the system and prepare it for production. That's important for our tri-national forces who have asked for greater mobility, interoperability and lethality."

MEADS is a mobile system designed to replace the Patriot systems in the United States and Germany. It includes a lightweight launcher, fire control and surveillance radars and "plug-and-fight" battle management command and control capabilities, the news release said.

It can defend against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft.

Lockheed Martin will perform work on MEADS at its locations in Orlando, Fla., Dallas, Huntsville, Ala., and Syracuse, N.Y. Fifty-eight percent of the funding for the program is from the U.S. government.

Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., is ranked No. 1 on Washington Technology's 2005 Top 100 list of the largest government IT contractors.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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