Lockheed Test Fires Army Patriot Missile Using Aegis Combat System

May 21, 2024 6:00 PM
PAC-3 MSE Integrated With Aegis Weapon System Defeats Target In Flight Test. Lockheed Martin Photo

Lockheed Martin performed a successful test of its PAC-3 missile interceptor with a virtual Aegis system, the company announced this week.

The PAC-3 system was launched from an Mk 70 containerized launching system and successfully intercepted a cruise missile, according to a company news release. The test took place at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

“These systems could deliver a proven, Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability with growing capacity to the U.S. to help defend against advanced, maneuverable threats,” Tom Copeman, Lockheed Martin’s strategy and naval programs vice president and a former surface warfare officer, said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin declined to say when the test took place when asked by USNI News.

“This test marks the first time PAC-3 MSE was launched in this configuration, utilizing the Virtualized Aegis Weapon System, to intercept a live target,” the company said in a news release.

The Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems oversaw the test, a company spokesperson told USNI News.

PEO IWS has created a rapid capabilities office that allows the service to quickly employ weapon systems using a variety of radars with a portable version of the Aegis combat system.

“What we did was take some mature technology that a DoD partner developed. We put it together with a portable version of the Aegis combat system that we developed [and] we put that together with an over-the-horizon targeting loop,” Jim Juster, the chief technology officer for PEO IWS, told USNI News earlier this year.
“When we integrated those three things together, we now had a portable version of the Aegis combat system that we could stick someplace besides a destroyer or cruiser.”

Last year, the office led a Navy test firing of an SM-6 from a Lockheed Martin Mk 70 containerized launching system aboard Littoral Combat Ship USS Savannah (LCS-26). The office also fired an SM-6 from a containerized launcher aboard the unmanned vessel Ranger in 2021. Lockheed Martin has also tested loading the Army’s PAC-3 in a MK 41 vertical launch system.

The Army asked to buy 230 PAC-3 missile segment enhancement interceptors for $963 million in its recent Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal.

“The Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) is a high velocity hit-to-kill, surface-to-air missile capable of intercepting tactical ballistic missiles, air breathing threats, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial systems,” according to the Army’s FY 2025 budget justification documents.
“The PAC-3 MSE represents the next generation PAC-3 missile which provides expanded battlespace performance against evolving threats and has been fully integrated into the Patriot system (US and international partners) and the [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] system (US only).

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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