Weight causing concern as transportability in C-130 is key demand for USA and Italy

Air-transportability in the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules tactical transport is proving a major hurdle for the transatlantic team developing the Medium Extended Air Defence System for the US, German and Italian armed forces. Led by Lockheed and heading into a preliminary design review beginning in June, the MEADS team hopes to overcome weight and volume issues before a critical design review of the system in September 2009.

"We have a very demanding requirement for all the major end items - battle management centre, multifunction fire-control radar, surveillance radar and launcher - to roll on and roll off the C-130 on their prime movers," says Jim Cravens, MEADS International president. Both radar vehicles currently exceed weight requirements, while the launcher "is a challenge for [Boeing] CH-47 lift capability," he says.

Transportability in the C-130 is a "very important requirement" for the USA and Italy, Cravens says, although Germany will use the larger Airbus Military A400M. The team is "still at the basic design level", he says, and "not at the point of suggesting there should be a waiver" to the C-130 roll-on/roll-off requirement. As the six-wheeled prime movers are government-furnished, weight-reduction efforts focus on the radars.

Germany is expected to award BGT a contract soon to adapt its infrared-guided IRIS-T air-to-air missile for ground launch as an adjunct to the radar-guided Lockheed PAC-3 missile used in MEADS.

Source: Flight International