Report of the Panel on
Reducing Risk In Ballistic Missile Defense Flight Test Programs
27 February 1998

Patriot Missile Program

  • Purpose: point defense against TBMs using low-endo intercept with a HTK warhead and defense against cruise missiles and attack aircraft
  • PAC-3 system evolved from PAC-2
    • ERINT HTK missile
    • PAC-2 Guidance Enhancement Missile (GEM) missile
    • Engagement control station

The Patriot PAC-3 program has several important characteristics that are significantly different from the other HTK TMD programs. It employs somewhat more mature technologies. More importantly, the Patriot program offices -- government and contractor -- are mature organizations with well- established processes and a proven history of program success. Further, the program has benefited from a consistent high priority. Hence, while HTK is still a difficult task for Patriot PAC-3, the program seems well organized to deal with the risks.


The Program Environment

  • Acquisition streamlining
  • Budget and schedule pressures
  • Minimal flight test and test resources
    • 2 Control Test Flight (CTF) missiles
    • 16 PAC-3 Guided Test Flight (GTF) missiles (10 fired at TBM targets)
    • 6 Patriot missiles (1 fired at a TBM target)
  • Strong reliance on simulations
  • Roughly 4 years from the start of contract to first test flight

The Patriot program has a full plate of challenges. Acquisition streamlining impacts the way the government and the contractor share responsibilities. While the impacts in the long term are likely to be positive, the short term may be turbulent

Even though the program has been characterized by a constant high priority, budget and schedule pressures sell abound. One consequence of these pressures is a minimal flight test program with strong reliance on simulations. The extensive use of simulations in preparation for flight test should be a substantial benefit At the same time, the cost-effectiveness benefit of simulations in lieu of an adequate flight test program is far more problematical.

The study group notes that the PAC-3 missile program took roughly 4 years from the start of the contract until the first flight. This program built upon a base of contractor experience with the earlier ERINT system. This is in contrast to the THAAD effort, in which the goal was first flight within 2 years of the contract award.


Patriot PAC-3 Program Schedule
As of November, 1997

Since the Patriot system has a dual mission, much of the phased development program deals with radar and C2 requirements for the air breathing threat and for the TMD threat.

The Quick Response Program (QRP) configuration includes radar enhancements, remote launch capability to extend the missile coverage to the limits of the radar, and tactical command system upgrades.

Configuration 1 expands the C2 capabilities and introduces the PAC-2 GEM.

Configuration 2 includes additional enhancements to the radar and C2 system and some survivability enhancements.

Configuration 3 includes the HTK PAC-3 missile along with additional radar, remote launch, and C2 development.


PAC-3 Missile
TBM Flight Test Matrix

Mission Objective
DT1*Initial flyout, aero data, airframe uplink/downlink (UL/DL) operation
DT2Flyout to extended range, in-flight alignment, thermal effects
DT3Missile-System Integration, low altitude
DT4 Missile-System Integration, high altitude
DTS Low magnitude helix maneuver, remote launch
DT6a Accuracy maneuver, multiple objects in seeker field of view (FOV)
DT8a,b High-magnitude helix maneuver, multiple TBM, turndown
DT9a High-altitude intercept
OTla Multiple threat engagement
OT2a,b Low radar cross section (RCS) high-velocity target, shoot-shoot firing
OT4a,b Multiple TBM engagement, inner boundary engagenent
* Flight DT1 and DT2 did not involve targets or intercept attempts

This slide shows that part of the flight test program was directed at the TBM mission. The sequential nature of objectives is noteworthy. However, it is also noteworthy that each flight breaks new ground with a significant advances in functionality.


PAC Models and Simulations

  • PAC-3 SIM: digital end-to-end system simulation
    • High-fidelity radar, 6-DOF missile, missile lethality
  • Flight mission simulator (FMS); exercises fully integrated ground system
    • HWIL tactical radar, simulated target RF, PAC-2 and PAC-3 environments
  • Guidance Test and Simulation Faculty (GTFS); design tool - support
    • HWIL ground and missile pre-launch, launch, and guidance functions
  • Missile Command (MICOM) MSS-2; launch-to-intercept closed-loop simulation to measure overall system performance
    • HWIL: ground system models with tactical seeker, 3-axis motion table in an anechoic chamber, flight dynamics in the RF environment
    • Lockheed Martin Vought Systems (LMVS) HWIL Facility PAC-3 missile flight hardware and software integration and checkout
  • Multifunction simulation (MFSIM); high-fidelity modeling of Patriot system TBM, non-TBM, track, guidance, and search radar loading
  • As mentioned, there is an extensive set of simulations, including HWL, available for the Patriot PAC-3 system.


    DT-1 Flight Test Readiness Reviews
    CTF Missile

    • PFI.R 1.1: completed 3 June and 1 July 1997 in Dallas, Texas
      • Assess readiness to ship DT-1 missile forebody
    • PFI'R 1.2 - completed 18 September 1997 in Huntsville, Alabama
      • Assess integrated system readiness for final DT-1 processing
    • PFTR 1.3 - completed 25 September 1997 in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
      • Assess Patriot PAC-3 system readiness to proceed to DT-1 launch
      DT-1 Test Results: Missile System Performance Nominal
    • The Patriot program also makes use of an extensive flight test readiness review process. This slide shows the series of reviews conducted for the DT-1 flight of fall 1997.


      PAC-3 - Observations

      • While the program builds on a long development history, HTK is still a new and challenging task
        • The PAC-3 missile is a large step up from ERINT
      • While the need for the TMD capability is urgent and PAC-3 is a high-priority solution to part of the need, the program urgency does not seem to be driving to high-risk approaches
      • The Patriot PAC-3 program seems to be proceeding toward the objective system without pressures for an interim capability
      • The long history of the Patriot program provides a legacy of disciplined design and engineering processes
      • The program makes heavy use of high-fidelity simulations and HWIL simulations to reduce flight test risk
      • The flight test program seems minimal, compressed, and concurrent The flight test program and key program milestones are compressed
      • Some highly evident observations about the Patriot PAC-3 program are provided in this slide.