'hit-to-kill' PAC-3 Missile is the world's most advanced, capable
and powerful theater air defense missile. It defeats the entire
threat to the Patriot Air Defense System: tactical ballistic
missiles (TBMs) carrying weapons of mass destruction, advanced
cruise missiles and aircraft. PAC-3 Missiles significantly
increase the Patriot system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3s load-out
on a Patriot launcher, compared with four of the older Patriot
The PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade to the Patriot air defense
system consists of the PAC-3 Missile agile hit-to-kill
interceptor, the PAC-3 Missile canisters (in four packs), a Fire
Solution Computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System.
These elements are being integrated into the Patriot augmenting
its high to medium altitude, long- range air defense capability.
The PAC-3 Missile has been selected as the primary interceptor for
the multi-national Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).
Managed by the NATO MEADS Management Agency, Current MEADS
development focus on risk
reduction, application of key technologies and validation of a
system design incorporating the PAC-3 Missile as the prime
During recent tests, conducted in September and November 2004 at
White Sands test range, PAC-3 missiles engaged multiple targets,
both short, long range and cruise missiles, with "ripple fire"
attacks. In the most recent test, four PAC-3s were
"ripple-fired" at two incoming targets. All targets were
destroyed by the first missile. Test objectives included
demonstrating the system's ability to detect, track and engage a TBM and cruise missile simultaneously, and validating the
performance of several components of the PAC-3 Missile that were
part of on- going cost reduction initiatives. These include an
Advanced Master Frequency Generator (AMFG), Multi-Band Radio
Frequency Data Link (MRFDL) and a Simplified Inertial Measurement
Unit (SIMU). In the second test, the PAC-3 system received
tracking information from THAAD system radar.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
March-April 2003, a mix of PAC-3 missile interceptors and PAC-2
air defense missiles destroyed a series of short range ballistic
missiles fired by Iraq, failed to engage and intercept several
cruise missiles fired on Kuwait City from Iraqi coastal missile
A possible future complement to the Patriot is the Low Cost
Interceptor (LCI), 10 inch diameter single-stage missile, designed
to intercept and destroy cruise missiles and UAVs. The booster
will loft the missile to high altitude and then the missile will
use gravity to increase its speed before an intercept.
8, 2006: The Government of Germany has requested a possible
sale of 72 PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) missiles, plus 12
each Missile Round Trainers, and their logistical support. Germany
has already fielded Patriots with 32 fire units in four air
defense wings. However, according to current plans, the number of
active units will decline to 24. The new missiles are expected to
enhance remaining squadrons. The estimated cost is $298 million.