It would be more costly not to complete the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and harvest the benefits of this breakthrough technology. Development started in 2004, not 1996, and MEADS remains a solid investment. Partners Germany and Italy depend on MEADS as the foundation for their defenses, and just one year remains to complete development.
Patriot is heavy and was designed to defeat aircraft attacking from a known direction. It’s old. And it’s costing a ton of money to keep operating. Maybe even $12 billion a year, according to a recent government-sponsored National Research Council report. By contrast, the $400 million requested by the President to complete MEADS is a bargain because MEADS defends 8 times the area and slashes operating costs with lower manpower needs and greater reliability.
The MEADS program remains under a funding cap that was set in 2004. (The U.S. has spent nearly twice as much on contractor-announced Patriot fixes during the same time.) It can’t be 10 years behind schedule because development just started 8 years ago. Check the facts at www.meads-amd.com
In the end, the question is how long the U.S. budget can continue to provide $12 billion a year to keep Patriot working when a better, affordable MEADS solution is in hand.