The decision by three of four defense committees in the U.S. Congress to cut funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (Meads) is facing blowback from Germany, one of the three international partners developing the missile defense system.

President Obama’s budget request for fiscal 2012 and 2013 includes $804 million to honor the nation’s agreement with Germany and Italy to finish development work on the program, despite the fact that the U.S. Army has no plans to buy the missile.

The Senate Armed Services Committee last month was the latest to clobber the Army-run program, voting to zero out the 2012 request of $406.6 million, knowing that the move could prompt a unilateral withdrawal from the multinational agreement and termination costs of $690 million to be paid to the Lockheed Martin-led industry team. The bill urges the Pentagon to work with Germany and Italy to see whether the agreement can be renegotiated by harvesting existing technology out of the program, according to a committee report.

But Germany is pointing out that the U.S. has agreed to keep working on the missile and needs to honor its commitments. Pulling out of Meads ahead of schedule would cause problems across the Atlantic, says the German ministerial director of armaments in a letter to the Pentagon’s acquisition chief obtained by Aviation Week.

“Joint termination of the current Meads development is not an option for Germany,” says Detlef Selhausen in the letter. “It would, additionally, be difficult to reconcile any joint termination with German budgetary law.” (See charts pp. 6-8.)

Further, a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement would “endanger two core aspects of our common objectives that are extremely important for Germany — the controlled archiving of the resulting development data (Technical Data Package), and the preparation of European industry for national or multinational follow-on activities.”