Lockheed Martin has achieved major milestones for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) programme during flight tests conducted earlier this month.

During flight tests, two PAC-3 missile segment enhancement (MSE) interceptors were launched from the US Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).

The missiles intercepted tactical ballistic missile (TBM) targets over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US.

According to the company, the flight tests marked the PAC-3 MSE’s first Field Surveillance Program (FSP) tests.

FSP tests are aimed at checking the fielded PAC-3 missiles’ reliability and readiness.

In April last year, Lockheed secured the $6.07bn contract from the US Army to produce PAC-3 MSE interceptors and related equipment.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control PAC-3 Programs vice-president Brenda Davidson said: “PAC-3 continues to build upon our rich history of reliable and innovative missile defence while also demonstrating our compatibility with one of the US Army’s foremost modernisation priorities to stay ahead of advanced threats.”

The PAC-3 family of missiles defend against incoming threats such as cruise missiles, tactical ballistic missiles and aircraft.

With a larger dual-pulse solid rocket motor, the PAC-3 MSE expands the ‘lethal battlespace’.

The two-pulse solid rocket motor provides increased performance in altitude and range.

Building on the combat-proven PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI), the PAC-3 MSE missiles employ hit-to-kill technology.

In August, Lockheed Martin conducted flight tests of PAC-3 MSE interceptor and PAC-3 CRI interceptor, demonstrating the upgrades to PAC-3 MSE interceptor and confirming the PAC-3 CRI’s reliability.

Currently, a total of 14 countries have selected PAC-3 CRI and PAC-3 MSE to provide missile defence capabilities.