Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile scores third intercept

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Army conducted a test of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Saturday 22,  at 8:15 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Preliminary test data indicate the test was successful.

Test objectives included demonstrating system capability to engage and destroy a low altitude cruise missile target, represented by an MQM-107 "Streaker" drone.

The PAC-3 missile is a high velocity, hit-to-kill missile and is the next generation PATRIOT missile being developed to provide increased defense capability against advanced tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and hostile aircraft. The PAC-3 missile uses kinetic energy to destroy its ballistic missile targets and employs a fragmenting warhead called a lethality enhancer against air breathing targets.

The PAC-3 missile successfully completed five missions prior to today’s flight test. The first two PAC-3 developmental test (DT) missions did not involve targets but were structured to verify critical systems and missile performance prior to conducting target intercept flight tests. A seeker characterization flight (SCF) mission was conducted March 15, 1999, to test a PAC-3 missile with a seeker. Although not a primary objective of the SCF, an intercept of the target was achieved. On September 16, 1999, a second intercept test was successful. The most recent test, DT-5, conducted Feb. 5, 2000, was a successful intercept of a Hera ballistic missile target. The remaining PAC-3 missions will consist of 12 PAC-3 missiles intercepting various classes of targets.

The Patriot program is managed by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in Washington, DC, and executed by the Army Program Executive Office for Air and Missile Defense and the Army Patriot Project Office in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, is the prime contractor responsible for the missile segment. The seeker is produced by the Boeing Company in Huntsville, Alabama. Raytheon Systems Company, the PATRIOT system prime contractor, is the system integrator for the PAC-3 missile segment. The target used in today’s test is managed by the Army’s Targets Management Office (TMO), located at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The TMO is an element of the Project Manager for Instrumentation, Targets and Threat Simulators, co-located with the U.S. Army Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command, Orlando, Fla.

Posted 24 July 2000