News Release

No. 428-99
IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 16, 1999 (703)697-5737(public/industry)


The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Army today conducted a successful intercept test of the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. this morning at 7:26 a.m. Mountain Time. Test objectives included a body-to-body intercept of a threat representative of a tactical ballistic missile target; a demonstrated capability of the ground system and missile to detect, track, and engage the target, and to collect data to evaluate missile homing functions.

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 theater ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and hostile aircraft.

The PAC-3 missile successfully completed three missions prior to today's flight test. The first two PAC-3 development test missions consisted of missiles with special instrumentation packages in place of the seeker. The missions 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. The remaining PAC-3 missions will consist of 15 PAC-3 missiles intercepting different classes of targets.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, is the prime contractor responsible for missile development. The seeker is produced by Boeing in Huntsville, Ala. Raytheon Company is the system integrator for the PAC-3 missile.

Video of today's PAC-3 intercept can be downlinked at 3:30 p.m., EDT, 1:30 Mountain Time. There will be a five-minute window for the downlink. Satellite coordinates are the following: Satellite SBS6, transponder 16 lower, audio: 6.2 - 6.8, Ku band, frequency 12080 vertical.