A Lockheed Martin Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile has intercepted a surrogate cruise missile threat at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico, US.

During the test, the interceptor detected, tracked and intercepted the missile target using a Lockheed Martin-developed F-35 as an elevated sensor.

According to Lockheed Martin, this test represents a first in one flight test, with F-35 data contributing to the global track leveraged by the US Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) to live fire a PAC-3 missile.

Featuring combat-proven hit-to-kill technology, the PAC-3 family of missiles defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.

Building on the PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI), the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) with a two-pulse solid rocket motor expands the ‘lethal battlespace’.

In the latest flight test, the Northrop Grumman-developed IBCS used the F-35 data with other contributing sensor data to begin the launch of the PAC-3.

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By GlobalData

This data will be used to neutralise the incoming threat, using hit-to-kill technology.

PAC-3 Programmes vice-president Brenda Davidson said: “Threats continue to evolve, and it’s important that we always stay ahead of them.

“This flight test shows the impact of what we can do in Joint All Domain Operations when we use the US Army’s IBCS and airborne communications gateways to bring together the world’s only combat proven hit-to-kill interceptor with the world’s most advanced fighter jet.”

For the first time, F-35 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) track data was used with IBCS during Orange Flag Evaluation (OFE) 19-2 to improve situational awareness and offer track data to engage airborne targets with a virtual PAC-3.