A Lockheed Martin PAC-3 Missile successfully intercepted an incoming target on Thursday, November 19, as part of a U.S. Army-led missile defense flight test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The PAC-3 interceptor successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a Patriot-as-a-Target (PAAT), which is a legacy Patriot missile modified to represent a tactical ballistic missile common in today’s operational environment.
«The PAC-3 Missile continues to demonstrate its reliability in the field, and it remains the only combat proven hit-to-kill interceptor in the world», said Scott Arnold, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «As global threats escalate, we expect PAC-3 interceptors to continue serving as a critical defense layer in the protection of soldiers, citizens and infrastructure».
The intercept is the second successful PAC-3 Missile test in just under one week. On Thursday, November 12, a PAC-3 also intercepted an airborne target as part of the U.S. Army’s Integrated Air & Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) fight test at White Sands.
The PAC-3 Missile is a high-velocity interceptor that defends against incoming threats including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft using hit-to-kill technology. PAC-3 currently provides missile defense capabilities for six nations – the U.S., the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Taiwan; and Lockheed Martin is on contract for PAC-3 with four additional nations – Kuwait, Qatar, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3)
The most mature hit-to-kill weapon system of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), the Patriot Weapon System using Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 missiles, is now operational and fielded by the U.S. Army.
A land-based element built upon the proven Patriot air and missile defense infrastructure.
PAC-3 was deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom where it intercepted ballistic missiles with a combination of GEM and PAC-3 missiles. The GEM missile uses a blast fragmentation warhead while the PAC-3 missile employs hit-to-kill technology to kill ballistic missiles.
The Army is responsible for production and further development of the PAC-3 and the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS); the Missile Defense Agency remains responsible for the BMDS and PAC-3 interoperability and integration efforts.
Provides simultaneous air and missile defense capabilities as the Lower Tier element in defense of U.S. deployed forces and allies.
Works with Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to provide an integrated, overlapping defense against missile threats in the terminal phase of flight. Jointly, these systems engage the threat by forming a multi-tier theater defense against adversary missile threats using peer-to-peer engagement coordination, early warning track data, and battle management situational awareness.
Contributes to the entire system’s situational awareness by transmitting precision cueing data to other theater elements while simultaneously protecting system assets against short-range ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and air-breathing threats.
For homeland defense, Patriot provides detection, track, and engagement of short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. These engagements are further enhanced by networked remote sensors that supply early warning data to increase the probability of success.
Patriot has added Upper-Tier Debris Mitigation capability to mitigate the excessive radar load and potential missile waste caused by debris from upper-tier intercepts.
October 25, 2012 – A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from Meck Island and a PATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor is launched from Omelek Island during MDA’s historic integrated flight test on October 24, 2012 (October 25 on Kwajalein)