New and Enhanced Patriot Scores a First Kill in an Intercept Test

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Photo: Lockheed Martin
Photo: Lockheed Martin

A modified version of the PAC-3 Missile has been tested successfully in February 2010, verifying the latest enhancement of the system known as PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE). During the test the missile successfully intercepted a threat representative tactical ballistic missile target over the White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The PAC-3 MSE Missile was selected as the primary interceptor for the multi-national Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) in September 2006.  The MEADS program has completed hardware Critical Design Reviews and is now integrating and testing the radars, launchers, tactical operation centers and reloaders needed for system tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in 2012.

The PAC-3 MSE Missile provides increased performance, greater altitude and range than the baseline PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) Missile. The new missile uses a larger rocket engine, resulting in a larger diameter. Its aerodynamic surfaces are larger and the span of the aft control surfaces is greater, to accommodate the increased performance envelope. To sustain the missile’s longer engagement profile, the missile uses new thermal batteries with increased capacity.

The PAC-3 MSE Missile is packaged in a single canister, four of which can be operated by each MSE upgraded Patriot launcher. Each of the upgraded launchers could be configured with a mix of PAC-3 and MSE weapons.