Patriot PAC-3 Configuration 3 MSE missile launcher

Lockheed Martin has successfully carried out a test flight of its PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) weapon at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, US.

The test flight included locking two different threat-targets, a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) and BQM-74 cruise missile, before destroying them.

Two PAC-3 MSE missiles ripple were fired at the TBM target, with one missile intercepting it and the second self-destructing according to plan.

The BQM-74 cruise missile target was locked in by a third PAC-3 MSE missile, while further preliminary data confirmed that the objectives of the test were achieved.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control PAC-3 programmes vice-president Richard McDaniel said that the test flight validated the maturity of the PAC-3 MSE configuration and that it can enter production stage.

"We demonstrated for the first time a multi-target engagement with MSE interceptors," said McDaniel.

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"We demonstrated for the first time a multi-target engagement with MSE interceptors."

As an updated version of the PAC-3 air defence missile, the PAC-3 MSE comprises a more powerful motor, larger fins and other enhancements, providing it with increased manoeuvrability against faster and advanced ballistic and cruise missiles.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control was selected as the prime contractor for the PAC-3 Missile Segment and MSE upgrades to the Patriot air defence system.

The upgrades involved standard integration of the Patriot system with PAC-3-MSE missiles, the PAC-3 missile canisters in four packs, the fire solution computer and the enhanced launcher electronics system.

Meanwhile, Lockheed claims the reliable threat interceptors PAC-3 and MSE missiles to boost the Patriot air and missile defense system’s firepower.

Images: A soldier operating Patriot PAC-3 Configuration 3 MSE missile launcher. Photo: courtesy of US Army. Original uploader was Lyta79 at en.wikipedia.

Defence Technology