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NIWC Atlantic Rapidly Develops New Air Defense System for Marines

10 February 2022

From Steve Ghiringhelli

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Engineers at NIWC Atlantic’s Expeditionary Warfare Department took just nine months to build out the model of a critical air defense capability named MADIS. The powerful on-the-move weapons system was designed to make Marines more dominant on the battlefield.

Called the Marine Air Defense Integrated System (MADIS) Increment (Inc) 1.0, the system was showcased for multiple Marine Corps stakeholders on Feb. 1, including Maj. Gen. Eric Austin, director of the Capabilities Development Directorate of Combat Development and Integration at Headquarters Marine Corps.

Austin received several high-level briefings before joining a tour of NIWC Atlantic facilities centered on the results of the latest MADIS buildout.

“I just wanted to offer a broad thanks to this team, to people I don’t get to look in the eye and thank very often,” Austin told members of NIWC Atlantic’s Land Systems Integration (LSI) Division. “This organization has an amazing pedigree, with an incredible ecosystem of innovation, and it’s really apparent you guys are held in high regard.”

Since last May, LSI engineers began designing and building out engineering development models (EDMs) to make MADIS component and system layouts compatible with the Marine Corps’ Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

The latest MADIS weapons system will afford Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Battalion Marine gunners next-generation, line-of-sight battlespace dominance by detecting, identifying and neutralizing airborne threats. The system uses wireless command and control (C2) and 360-degree radar capabilities to counter everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to rotary and fixed-wing aircraft via turret-launched Stinger missiles, heavy guns and multi-functional electronic warfare.

“The high-powered tactical and electronic technologies of MADIS Inc 1.0 will provide an indispensable advantage to LAAD Marines conducting fire and maneuver missions within the weapons engagement zone,” said Ryan Price, who leads the LSI Division at the command’s Expeditionary Warfare Department.

MADIS is a Program Executive Officer Land Systems (PEO LS) program of record. After last year’s fielding of another version of MADIS onto smaller vehicles, PEO LS tasked NIWC Atlantic to develop variants for the JLTV.

Cost constraints and vehicle space restrictions were two major concerns early on. Mechanical engineers expedited development by designing specialized mounts for the two large remote weapons systems. They then took those prototype drawings over to the waterjet cut bed at NIWC Atlantic’s On-Demand Manufacturing (ODM) Lab, an industrial machine capable of cutting through four-inch-thick titanium.

“As the MADIS lead systems integrator for the Marine Corps, we knew we needed to move out quickly in not just developing an exceptional product but implementing unique efficiencies,” said Tim Hughes, team lead for the LSI Division’s Counter Threat Platforms Support. “The 3-D printer mount solution is just one of many excellent examples demonstrating the experience and engineering acuity this team used to get the job done.

“I’m really proud of what they accomplished in such a short amount of time,” he added. “They pulled from multiple resources across the division and outside the department to essentially build a team from scratch,” he added.

MADIS Inc 1.0 models will run through integrated tests and evaluations later this year before any final U.S. Marine Corps procurement and fielding decisions are made.

NIWC Atlantic Executive Director Peter C. Reddy, who led the Marine stakeholder tour around base last week, noted that strong air defense and C2 capabilities will help Marines meet the Commandant’s vision for Force Design 2030, which includes competing and winning in expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO) environments.

With that in mind, Reddy said the MADIS team overcame many challenges and admirably accomplished the first phase of the important work with efficiency and a great sense of duty.

“These men and women, some of them former Marines themselves, understand the importance of integrated, better connected and highly effective weapons systems that can prevail in a contested EABO-type setting,” he said. “I am proud of this team, the division, the department and our greater command. What they have achieved together is nothing short of astounding.”

About NIWC Atlantic

As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.

 

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