Five Lockheed Martin [LMT] Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 interceptors successfully defeated four tactical ballistic missile targets in a test earlier this month.
The Army led a flight test of four PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) and one PAC-2 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors against the four targets at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. A company spokesperson told Defense Daily that this “complex test” took place on Nov. 16.
A previous Army test used a remote launch configuration of the PAC-3 MSE in September in the Pacific Ocean (Defense Daily, Sept. 21).
The company highlighted the successful hit-to-kill intercept test fulfills a requirement supporting a full-rate production decision for the MSE model interceptor.
The PAC-3 MSE reached initial operating capability in the Army in 2016.
Lockheed Martin also said the test “reconfirmed” the CRI and MSE’s ability to detect, track, and intercept missiles while meeting fielded reliability requirements,
The PAC-3 MSE builds on the CRI but uses larger control fins and a dual-pulse solid rocket motor that extend the interceptor’s range and improves performance for more growing threats. The company noted the MSE allows the PAC-3 to destroy targets at “much higher altitudes” than legacy interceptors.
Scott Arnold, vice president and deputy of the company’s integrated air and missile defense division, referred to the PAC-3 in a statement as “the only combat proven Hit-to-Kill interceptor in the world.”
“Today’s global security environment demands reliable solutions. We expect PAC-3 interceptors to continue serving as an essential element in an integrated, layered defense system,” he added.
Raytheon [RTN] is the overall Patriot air and missile defense program prime contractor.