The medium extended air defense system (MEADS) has emerged as a contender for the next-generation air and missile defence programme in three European countries.

The tri-national system is believed to be a primary candidate for Germany’s new air and missile defence system Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem (TLVS), which requires a flexible architecture based on strong networking capabilities.

MEADS International is the prime contractor for MEADS.

"MEADS is designed to be flexible, agile and lethal against the evolving threats our adversaries are developing."

MEADS International is a multi-national joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Florida, US, and consists of subcontractors and partners MBDA in Italy and Germany, as well as US-based Lockheed Martin.

The air defence system is also expected to become the basis of a national defence system in Italy, while the Polish Armament Inspectorate announced last month that MEADS International will participate in technical discussions for the Narew short-range air defence system.

The Narew system is anticipated to be capable of destroying aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

MEADS International executive vice-president Volker Weidemann said: "We have built and tested a new generation of networked air and missile defence radars, launchers and battle managers."

Nato Medium Extended Air Defense System general manager Gregory Kee said: "The nations recognise the need for a more versatile capability in air and missile defence.

"MEADS is designed to be flexible, agile and lethal against the evolving threats our adversaries are developing."

Last month, the system completed a formal contract review with evaluators from Germany, Italy and the US.

Formal decisions on the MEADS selection are expected to be announced by Germany and Italy early this year, and a follow-on plan is being developed for the transition.

In addition, the US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Command also held a separate review in response to interest in the Department of Defense in leveraging MEADS technology.

MEADS is a 360° ground-mobile air and missile defence system, developed to defend soldiers and critical assets against threats such as tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.