The Medium Extended Air Defense System successfully identified and shot down an "air-breathing target" during a Thursday trial in New Mexico, the technology's sponsoring consortium said in a press release.
“Today’s successful flight test further demonstrates MEADS’ ability to identify, track, engage and defeat targets attacking from any direction using a single mobile launcher,” NATO MEADS Management Agency General Manager Gregory Kee said in provided comments. “MEADS is proving its capability to defend our war-fighters and key assets against a growing 21st century threat.”
The Defense Department has said it does not plan on purchasing any MEADS systems. The joint program by Italy, Germany and the United States aims to develop a battlefield device that would shield deployed troops from short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and enemy fighter planes.
Defense Department officials have called for continued funding of the program through fiscal 2013 to avoid more expensive contract liabilities and to potentially benefit from associated technology gains. Multiple congressional committees have refused to allocate any new MEADS funding under a budget for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, but the project has continued to receive U.S. support at fiscal 2012 levels under a short-term measure extending into March.
“Today’s successful intercept proves MEADS’ advertised capabilities are real," MEADS International President Dave Berganini said in the statement. "Its digital designs, and modern hardware and software ensure high reliability rates and dramatically reduced operational and support costs.”