An international arbitration tribunal has confirmed NATO's selection of a Lockheed Martin-led team to develop the $12 billion Medium Extended Air Defence Systems (MEADS). The decision is binding with no further opportunity for appeal.

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon battled for the right to develop and manufacture the air defence system for Germany, Italy and the USA. In May 1999, the tri-national NATO MEADS Management Agency picked Lockheed Martin over Raytheon to lead EADS and Alenia Marconi Systems in developing the weapon. The NATO agency rejected Raytheon's initial protest in July 1999, leaving the US company to make a further appeal to a panel consisting of Germany, Italy and USA. Raytheon acted without the approval of its would-be partners, EADS and Alenia Marconi Systems.

The US Army says the decision validates "the integrity of the source selection process".

Source: Flight International