The newest Patriot missile type reached a new distance record during an intercept test on Thursday, missile builder Lockheed Martin [LMT] said in a statement.
A Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) intercepted an air-breathing threat (ABT) target during a test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The ABT represents both fixed wing aircraft and cruise missile-type targets.
The company highlighted this was the farthest distance a PAC-3 MSE has ever intercepted an ABT. It also said this kind of flight test demonstrated the PAC-3’s hit-to-kill capability to intercept threats like aircraft, cruise missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles
Lockheed Martin also said this reconfirmed the missile’s ability to detect, track, then intercept incoming ABTs or missiles.
“This most recent test validates its effectiveness at extreme distances,” Jay Pitman, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement.
“Today's global security environment demands reliable solutions. We expect PAC-3 Hit-to-Kill interceptors to continue serving as an essential element in integrated, layered defense systems,” he added.
The company said the test was observed by representatives from the U.S. Army and an unnamed current Foreign Military Sales (FMS) PAC-3 MSE customer.
Eleven countries have procured the PAC-3 missile defense system besides the U.S.: Germany, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Most recently, Poland agreed to buy the Patriot defense system and PAC-3 MSE missiles in a deal worth up to $4.75 billion in March. The four other PAC-3 MSE procurement nations are the U.S., Japan, Qatar, Romania, and the UAE (Defense Daily, March 28).
In November Romania signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for PAC-3 MSE (Defense Daily, Nov. 29, 2017).
In February Lockheed Martin was awarded a $524 million modification to build more PAC-3 MSEs (Defense Daily, Feb. 8).