Lockheed Martin has handed over the first upgraded Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors to the US Army.
The new interceptors feature improved mobility and range and are expected to significantly upgrade the army's missile defence capabilities, as well as defending against evolving threats worldwide,
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control PAC-3 programmes vice-president Scott Arnold said: "We are proud to deliver these interceptors to the US Army and are confident the men and women of the armed forces can count on the PAC-3 MSE when it matters most.
"As enemy threats grow in number and complexity, these interceptors will be critical to protecting soldiers, citizens and infrastructure around the globe."
PAC-3 MSE is an upgraded version of combat proven PAC-3 air defence missile, which is designed to defeat a broad spectrum of incoming tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, as well as aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles by direct, body-to-body impact.
The upgraded missile consists of PAC-3 missile, a highly agile hit-to-kill interceptor, PAC-3 missile canisters, a fire solution computer, an enhanced launcher electronics system, as well as launcher support hardware.
The missile also uses a two-pulse solid rocket motor that increases altitude and range to address a broad spectrum of evolving threats.
With the enhancements, the company claims to have nearly doubled PAC-3's reach and also improved manoeuvrability against today's faster and more sophisticated ballistic and cruise missiles threats.
Lockheed received the first $611m PAC-3 MSE production contract in April 2014, and earned a $1.5bn follow-on order in July this year.
Image: A PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missile launches during a ballistic missile target test. Photo: courtesy of US Army.