The US Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a $6.07 billion contract for the production of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors and associated equipment.
The contract calls for the production and delivery of PAC-3 MSE interceptors, launcher modification kits, associated equipment and non-recurring efforts to support the United States and global customers.
“This contract demonstrates our customer’s continued confidence in our ability to deliver unmatched hit-to-kill technology that defeats the ever-expanding global threats of today and tomorrow,” said Scott Arnold, vice president, integrated air & missile defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “PAC-3 MSE is one of the most capable multi-mission interceptors, enabling our customers to defend against advanced tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.”
The PAC-3 missile segment upgrade consists of a hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 missile canisters (in four packs), a fire solution computer and an enhanced launcher electronics system.
The US Army first began receiving PAC-3 missiles combined with an overhaul to command and control systems and related software some 25 years ago, after the original MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system achieved initial operational capability in 1984.
Upgrading again, the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, or MSE missiles, fielded a few years ago brought extended range and more maneuverability due to a more powerful rocket motor and larger fins. However, radar limitations prevented utilizing PAC-3 MSE missiles to their full capability.
Now Patriot units are undergoing a system-wide upgrade, to include radar improvements that will enable them to use the full capability of the PAC-3 MSE missile. An upgrade called Post-Deployment Build 8, or PDB8, is providing Patriot units with a more capable radar by transitioning from analog to digital processing.
Ten nations – the United States, Qatar, Japan, Romania, Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Korea, Bahrain and Germany – have signed agreements to procure PAC-3 MSE interceptors.
Lockheed Martin noted it is currently building an 85,000-square-foot expansion at the Camden, Arkansas, facility where PAC-3 MSE interceptors are assembled to meet customer demand and increase production capacity. The building is expected to be complete by fourth quarter 2021, with operations beginning in first quarter 2022.