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Lockheed Martin's PAC-3 Missile Intercepts Target in White Sands Test

PAC-3 Missile Perfect In Flight Testing - Seventh Intercept In A Row


DALLAS, March 31, 2001 - Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control - Dallas, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Army conducted yet another successful flight of a Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., this morning.

The intercept by the PAC-3 Missile of a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) target was the seventh consecutive successful intercept for PAC-3. The PAC-3 Missile has a perfect flight test record.

The PAC-3 Missile Developmental Test 8 (DT-8) was the first multiple simultaneous engagement of multiple TBM targets in the test program. Two PAC-3 Missiles engaged a Hera Modified Ballistic Re-entry Vehicle equipped with a simulated unitary warhead. A PAC-2 missile simultaneously engaged a Patriot-As-A-Target (PAAT).

The PAC-3 Missile engagement was the first "Tactical Ripple Mode" launch, where two PAC-3 Missiles were launched at a single TBM target. Both PAC-3 Missiles were fired from the same Patriot launcher, with several seconds separating the launches. The first PAC-3 Missile successfully engaged and killed the target. The second PAC-3 Missile then performed its tactical self-destruct sequence.

Preliminary test data indicate all test objectives were successfully achieved.

"The PAC-3 Missile has a perfect flight test record," said Mike Trotsky, vice president - air defense marketing for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This was our most challenging test to date. But the PAC-3 Missile continues to prove itself as the world's most effective and successful air defense missile. For defense against TBMs, cruise missiles or aircraft, absolutely nothing compares to the PAC-3 Missile."

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control - Dallas 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 has now had nine consecutive successful engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) test flights since 1997. The first two EMD missions were successfully conducted with special instrumentation packages in place of the full-up PAC-3 Missile seeker. The missions were structured to verify critical systems and missile performance prior to conducting target intercept flight tests.

The first PAC-3 Missile target intercept flight was on March 15, 1999. The second followed on September 16, 1999, with the third intercept of a TBM on February 5, 2000. Two successful cruise missile intercepts, on July 22 and 28, 2000, proved conclusively the PAC-3 Missile's ability to detect and destroy low-flying cruise missiles. The sixth successful intercept occurred on October 14, 2000, when the PAC-3 Missile intercepted and destroyed an incoming TBM target.

The PAC-3 Missile entered Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) in December 1999, with two follow-on LRIP contract in calendar year 2000. Several contracts for special hardware and long lead-time items have also been awarded to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control - Dallas since the beginning of the LRIP phase of the program. Initial fielding of the PAC-3 Missile is planned for later this year.

In addition to the eight 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 is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics and technology services.