The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Army conducted the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile Seeker Characterization Flight (SCF) test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., today at 6:55 a.m. Preliminary test data indicate the test was successful.
Objectives included the collection of data and analyses of the system/missile capability to detect, track, and close with the target, the PAC-3 missile seeker data in a flight environment, and the missile closed-loop homing guidance performance in flight. While not a specific objective of the SCF, the PAC-3 missile intercepted the HERA reentry vehicle target.
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 first two PAC-3 missions consisted of missiles with special instrumentation packages in place of the seeker and the missions were structured to verify critical systems and missile performance prior to conducting target intercept flight tests. This SCF mission is the first flight test of a PAC-3 missile with a seeker. The remaining PAC-3 missions will consist of 16 PAC-3 missiles intercepting different classes of targets.
Lockheed Martin Vought Systems, Dallas, Texas, is the prime contractor responsible for missile development. The seeker is produced by Boeing North America, Duluth, Ga.