Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile

The US Army Aviation and Missile Command has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to provide hardware and associated services for the combat-proven Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile programme.

The $921m contract includes production of missile and command launch systems for the US Army, and a third follow-on sale to Taiwan, the fifth international customer for the PAC-3 missile.

Under the contract, the company will produce and deliver PAC-3 missiles, launcher modification kits, spares and other equipment as well as programme management and services to the Army.

Lockheed is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 missile segment upgrade, which includes the PAC-3 missile, an agile hit-to-kill interceptor, PAC-3 missile canisters, a fire solution computer and an enhanced launcher electronics system and launcher support hardware.

The Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defence system designed to provide protection against advanced threats including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The missile features a solid propellant rocket motor, aerodynamic controls, attitude control motors (ACMs) and inertial guidance for navigation.

The missile is equipped with a track-via-missile (TVM) guidance system that helps transmit target data through the ground radar to the engagement control station for final course correction calculations.

The target engagement can be carried out in manual, semi-automatic or automatic mode. After launch, the missile is acquired by a trailer-mounted AN/MPQ-53 phased array radar that carries out search, detection and missile-tracking functions.

Currently, the Patriot is in service with 12 nations worldwide including the US, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.

Manufacturing work under the contract will take place at the company’s facilities in Texas, Massachusetts, and Florida as well as at the PAC-3 All-Up Round facility in Arkansas, US followed by deliveries in the first half of 2013.

Image: Lockheed Martin to provide hardware and associated services for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile.