Lockheed Martin has successfully carried out flight test of the patriot advanced capability-3 (PAC-3) missile at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US.
During testing, the missile successfully detected, tracked and intercepted an aerodynamic, threat-representative tactical ballistic missile (TBM) target.
The flight test involved ripple fire engagement of two PAC-3 missiles resulting in target destruction by the first interceptor, while the second missile self-destructed on command as planned.
Lockheed Martin missiles and fire control PAC-3 programmes vice-president, Richard McDaniel, said the PAC-3 missile continues to provide customers with proven and reliable performance along with unmatched lethality.
”The capability PAC-3 provides continues to draw significant interest from a number of international customers,” McDaniel said.
The US Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) awarded a contract to the company last week to continue PAC-3 missile production, including 244 hit-to-kill PAC-3 missiles, 72 launcher modification kits, associated tooling and programme management services delivery for the US and Kuwait.
The $308m contract represents the first foreign military sale (FMS) of the PAC-3 missile to Kuwait.
An upgraded version of Patriot surface-to-air missile, PAC-3 is an advanced, hit-to-kill air defence projectile weapon designed to defeat a broad spectrum of incoming TBMs and cruise missiles, as well as aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by direct, body-to-body impact.
The missile features a solid propellant rocket motor, aerodynamic controls, attitude control motors, inertial guidance for navigation, and a track-via-missile (TVM) guidance system to target data transmission to the engagement control station for final course correction calculations.
Jointly manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed, Patriot is currently operational with 12 nations worldwide, including the US, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, and has already proved its effectiveness during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Image: a PAC-3 missile being fired during an integrated flight test at the Utah Test and Training Range, US, in 2012. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin.