Lockheed Martin conducts firing tests with its new PAC-3 MSE missile of PATRIOT
According to information released on November 15, 2021, during flight tests, on November 4, 2021, American company Lockheed Martin demonstrated significant milestones for the PAC-3 program, including the first integration of the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) PATRIOT with the U.S. Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).
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The PAC-3 MSE's dual pulse rocket motor provides added thrust. (Picture source Lockheed Martin)
During the flight test series, two PAC-3 MSE (Missile Segment Enhancement) missiles successfully engaged from IBCS (Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System) and intercepted tactical ballistic missile (TBM) threats over White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. These marked the first Field Surveillance Program (FSP) tests for PAC-3 MSE. FSP missions confirm the reliability and readiness of fielded PAC-3 missiles and normally occur annually.
The PATRIOT Advanced Capability-Three (PAC-3) program is an air-defense, guided missile system with long-range, medium- to high-altitude, all-weather capabilities. The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air defense missile (SAM) system that was designed to engage aerial threats like aircraft as well as ballistic missiles. The PAC-3 version is designed to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft.
The upgraded PAC-3 MSE expands the lethal battlespace with a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, providing increased performance in altitude and range. PAC-3 MSE is a high-velocity interceptor that defends against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. The missile uses Hit-to-Kill technology, which engages threats through kinetic energy via body-to-body contact.
The PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) is an evolution of the battle-proven PAC-3 Missile. The hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE provides performance enhancements that counter evolving threat advancements. The enhancements ensure the PAC-3 Missile Segment of the PATRIOT Air Defense System is capable of engaging new and evolving threats. The hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile is the world’s most advanced, and capable theater air defense missile and defender against the entire threat to the PATRIOT Air Defense System: Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBMs) carrying weapons of mass destruction, evolving cruise missiles, and aircraft.
The PAC-3 MSE design utilizes the latest technology to significantly increase performance. The PAC-3 MSE incorporates a larger, dual pulse solid rocket motor; larger fins; and upgraded actuators and thermal batteries to accommodate increased performance. The modifications extend the missile’s reach.
The PAC-3 MSE is packaged in a single canister that stacks to provide logistical flexibility. Twelve individual PAC-3 MSE Missiles can be loaded on a PATRIOT Launcher or a combination of six MSEs and eight PAC-3 Missiles (two four packs) can be loaded.