MEADS, which is scheduled to be delivered in 2018, is designed to intercept short-range and cruise missiles as well as shoot down planes and drones. Unlike the Patriot, the MEADS system is mobile and can be trucked around a battlefield, with its radar swiveling 360 degrees to track targets from any direction.
The only reason the Pentagon wants this thing is to appease Europe. Euro-free-riders need to spend more on defense, their own defense, not us... especially since they think supporting NATO operations is voluntary. Besides, from an angry bear perspective, wouldn't cutting off oil and natural gas to Europe be even more effective than missile strikes? Aren't Russian and Iranian missiles just for May Day and Revolution Day parades anyhow?
Transferring this project from the U.S. Army, which has tactical authority over ground to air defense, to the Missile Defense Agency, which is a strategic authority more in line with SDI/Star Wars type missile defense primarily led by Air Force officers, is a mistake. Where we need to transfer the authority to is NATO HQ and wipe this off of our budget. Oh wait, we basically are NATO. Catch-22.