In flight tests earlier this month, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) units worked with the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) for the first time to intercept ballistic missiles, PAC-3 prime contractor Lockheed Martin [LMT] said Nov. 15.
On Nov. 4, two PAC-3 MSE missiles integrated with Northrop Grumman’s IBCS to intercept tactical ballistic missile threats over White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
Lockheed Martin said this was part of the first Field Surveillance program (FSP) tests for the PAC-3 MSE, which are annual tests that seek to confirm the reliability and readiness of fielded missiles.
“PAC-3 continues to build upon our rich history of reliable and innovative missile defense while also demonstrating our compatibility with one of the U.S. Army’s foremost modernization priorities to stay ahead of advanced threats,” Brenda Davidson, vice president of PAC-3 Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a statement.
The PAC-3 MSE model modifies the earlier model by using a dual-pulse solid rocket motor for increased altitude and range and an enhanced airframe for more vulnerability. The company advertises the missile as being able to defend against threats like tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.
The missile has been in full-rate production since 2018 and has signed agreements to sell the PAC-3 MSE to the U.S., Bahrain, Germany, Japan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates.
Last month, GKN Aerospace signed a contract with Lockheed Martin to continue providing launch tubes for the PAC-3 MSEs through 2025 (Defense Daily, Oct. 11).
Last year, MDA and the Army conducted a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot missile defense weapon in which a THAAD Army-Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control Model 2 (AN/TPY-2) radar detected a missile target and provided the data to a Patriot system that launched a PAC-3 MSE to successfully intercept it (Defense Daily, Oct. 2, 2020).