Lockheed Martin's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile program achieved major system success today at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. by meeting two key flight test milestones.
The first objective was to track and radar lock tactical ballistic missile (TBM) and aircraft targets in the presence of radar jamming. The success of today's mission proved the PAC-3 Missile's ability to engage targets in an electronic countermeasure environment, a requirement of the PAC-3 Missile test program.
A second developmental test milestone was achieved when the PAC-3 Missile intercepted and destroyed an aircraft target, a remotely piloted F-4 with an on-board radar-jamming device. With the intercept of the aircraft target, the PAC-3 Missile has now demonstrated its ability to defeat the entire spectrum of threats to the Patriot Air Defense System: tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft targets. Being able to defeat these three types of threat targets is another operational requirement of the PAC-3 Missile.
The mission at White Sands involved two PAC-3 Missiles and two targets. The first PAC-3 Missile successfully intercepted and totally destroyed the F-4 target aircraft. The second PAC-3 Missile radar-locked the Hera TBM, a target the PAC-3 Missile has intercepted and destroyed multiple times in past missions, but did not achieve intercept. Analysis will be conducted over the next few days so corrective action can be taken.
"Today's test was a success from our perspective," said James (Jim) F. Berry, president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This is an incredible machine that has now proven conclusively that it is fully capable to handle the entire threat to the Patriot Air Defense System, even in electronic countermeasure environments."
Operationally, the tactical doctrine for the PAC-3 Missile will be to fire two missiles at incoming TBM targets, as was the case on March 31, 2001. In that "tactical ripple mode" test, two PAC-3 Missiles were fired at the same Hera target, with the first missile intercepting the TBM and destroying it. The second missile then performed the planned tactical self-destruct maneuver.
PAC-3 is one of the world's most sophisticated technologies. The PAC-3 Missile boasts 11 successes out of 12 flights over the past three years, with eight intercepts in nine attempts, an overall 92 percent success rate for the flight test program.
The flight was the first combined Developmental Test/Operational Test (DT/OT) of the PAC-3 flight test program. Patriot soldiers from the 2nd of the 43rd Air Defense Battalion, Fort Bliss, Texas, participated in launch operations.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, is the prime contractor responsible for the PAC-3 Missile segment upgrade to the Patriot air defense system, which consists of the PAC-3 Missile, the missile canisters, the Fire Solution Computer and the Enhanced Launcher Electronics System.
The PAC-3 Missile intercept successes: -- March 15, 1999 - Successful intercept of TBM -- September 16, 1999 - Successful intercept of TBM -- February 5, 2000 - Successful intercept of TBM -- July 22, 2000 - Successful intercept of low-flying cruise missile -- July 28, 2000 - Successful intercept of low-flying cruise missile -- October 14, 2000 - Successful intercept of TBM -- March 31, 2001 - First "Tactical Ripple Mode" test - successful intercept of TBM by first PAC-3 Missile; successful tactical self- destruct of second PAC-3 Missile -- July 9, 2001 - Successful intercept of an F-4 remotely piloted aircraft by PAC-3 Missile
In addition to the 11 successful PAC-3 Missile flight tests, the PAC-3's predecessor missile, the Extended-Range Interceptor, demonstrated three hits in a row during the demonstration/validation program in 1994. Two of those tests involved TBM targets and one involved an air-breathing target (simulating a cruise missile or aircraft).
The PAC-3 Missile is a high velocity, hit-to-kill missile and is the next generation Patriot missile being developed to provide increased capability against advanced theater ballistic missile, cruise missile and hostile aircraft. The PAC-3 Missile kills incoming targets by direct, body-to-body impact. The PAC-3 Missiles, when deployed in a Patriot battery, will significantly increase the Patriot system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3 Missiles load-out on a Patriot launcher, compared with four of the old Patriot missiles.
Located in Dallas, Tex.; Orlando, Fla.; and Sunnyvale, Calif., Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control develops, manufactures and supports advanced combat, missile, rocket and space systems. The company is organized in seven program/mission areas: Strike Weapons, Air Defense, Anti-Armor, Naval Munitions, Fire Control and Sensors, Fire Support and Product Development
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin
SOURCE: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
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