MEADS International Announces New Leadership as Company Readies for Upcoming Design & Development Program
ORLANDO/MUNICH/ROME, 03-MAR-04 --
The MEADS International (MI) Board of Directors today announced that James J. Cravens, Jr., has been named the next president of MI, an international company developing the next-generation ground-mobile air and missile defense system for the United States, Germany, and Italy. The leadership change readies MI for entry into the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) Design & Development contract in the months ahead.
As part of the preplanned rotation between U.S. and German leadership of the company, Cravens, a Lockheed Martin executive, succeeds Klaus Riedel as President. Cravens was previously director of PAC-3 International Business Development at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX, which included responsibility for day-to-day operations of a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and EADS/LFK, which is also a partner in developing MEADS. He has been a member of the MI Board of Directors during the past year.
Cravens retired as a Major General from the U.S. Army after 32 years of active service that included assignments as Chief of Staff of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, VA, and Commanding General of Fort Bliss, TX, where he also served as Commandant of the Air Defense Artillery School and as Chief of Air Defense Artillery. He received a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from North Georgia College. His military schooling includes the National War College and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Joining MI is Dr. Axel Widera, who succeeds Dave Seckinger as Executive Vice President. Previously as Vice President of Programs for EADS/LFK GmbH in Unterschleissheim, Germany, Widera was responsible for the company's short-range air defense and antitank programs. His 18-year career with LFK and its predecessor companies includes extensive experience in managing international programs. Widera's program responsibilities have included development, low-rate and series production, and integration of defense capabilities into fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks and ships.
Before joining LFK in 1986, Widera was program manager for Infrared and Radar Countermeasures at Buck Chemisch Technische Werke GmbH in Bad Reichenhall, Germany. He received his doctorate and undergraduate degrees in Chemistry from Technical University Darmstadt.
In a related action, to satisfy the MEADS International charter agreement, the Board of Directors named Riedel as Chairman of the Board. At the end of a transition period at MEADS International, he will return to Germany and take up responsibilities as Vice President of Programs for Lenkflugkörpersysteme (LFK) GmbH, a division of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) Company in Munich, Germany. Riedel has been a Member of the Board of EADS and LFK, and was previously Vice President for Air Defence at the company in Munich. His selection as Chairman builds on his extensive military and business experience in air and missile defense and electronic warfare, including the Roland and antitank munitions.
During the executive leadership of Riedel and Seckinger, MI recorded several significant achievements in architecture definition and risk reduction as part of the current MEADS Risk Reduction Effort contract. In May 2003, MI demonstrated an advanced lightweight launcher prototype in Italy that can rapidly initialize, self-load, and vertically launch up to 12 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missiles and is able to roll-on/roll-off C-130 transport aircraft. In July 2003, the company held a successful demonstration of the MEADS system that included linkage of hardware, software and end-to-end simulations. The demonstration validated end item plug-and-fight communications and included destruction of simulated air-breathing and ballistic missile threats.
More recently, MI submitted a comprehensive proposal to begin MEADS Design and Development (D&D) in April 2004 and field the system in 2012. Also, the company recently completed development of a prototype Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR) in Munich that is in final test for an upcoming system-level demonstration in Rome.
Speaking of the transition, Cravens said, The United States, Germany and Italy entered into the MEADS program with two purposes. One was to prove that missile defense would benefit from close transatlantic cooperation among our nations. The other was to ensure that an advanced 360-degree open-architecture air and missile defense system would be available to our nations to defend against evolving threats in the next decade. Under Klaus' and Dave's leadership, MI has made important strides toward those goals, which pave the way to the upcoming D&D contract and its successful completion.
Last month, Germany reaffirmed its commitment to MEADS in the budget that Defense Minister Dr. Peter Struck presented to the Bundestag.
MEADS is a mobile air defense system designed to replace Patriot systems in the United States, Patriot and HAWK systems in Germany, and Nike Hercules systems in Italy. It also meets the requirements of a capabilities oriented air defense concept in Germany and the United States. MEADS incorporates the proven hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile in a system that includes surveillance and fire control sensors, battle management/communication centers, and high firepower launchers. The system will combine superior battlefield protection with unprecedented flexibility, allowing it to protect maneuver forces and to provide homeland defense against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and aircraft.
MEADS will provide capabilities unlike any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It is easily deployed to a theater of operations and, once there, can keep pace with fast-moving maneuver forces. When completed, MEADS will be an air defense system able to roll off tactical transports with the troops and immediately begin operations. More importantly, its open architecture provides for 21st century air defense system-of-system integration capabilities that allow mission-tailoring for homeland defense or defense of maneuver forces. MEADS also provides greater firepower with less manpower than current systems, producing dramatic operation and support cost savings.
In 1999, MEADS International, Inc., was selected by NAMEADSMA, a chartered organization of NATO, to develop MEADS. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, FL, MEADS International's participating companies are MBDA-Italia, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Lenkflugkörpersysteme (LFK) in Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States. Together, these companies have focused an international engineering team in Orlando to develop systems and technologies for the MEADS program, which continues as a model for collaborative transatlantic development.
MEADS is currently completing a Risk Reduction Effort contract. The U.S., Germany and Italy are financing the program in shares of 55, 28 and 17 percent.