Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Army successfully further integrated the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor into the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System to create a more tightly integrated, layered missile defense system.
During a test held in March 2022, the THAAD system successfully launched a PAC-3 MSE to intercept a tactical ballistic missile target using proven Hit-to-Kill technology without the support of a Patriot fire unit, yielding greater flexibility for the warfighter. Integration into the THAAD Weapon System allows the PAC-3 MSE to launch earlier, enabling a longer flyout and the full use of the MSE’s kinematic capability.
“This integration is another Lockheed Martin contribution to joint all-domain operations and offers a critical capability in 21st century security that gives the warfighter more options with existing equipment so they can choose the best interceptor for any threat they face,” said Scott Arnold, vice president, Integrated Air & Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The test also validates the flexibility of our PAC-3 missiles, which have now successfully launched from THAAD, Patriot and the U.S. Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) in flight tests.”
Several flight tests led to this integration of PAC-3 MSE within THAAD. In a 2020 flight test, a PAC-3 MSE intercepted a target using data provided by THAAD. In an earlier test this year, the THAAD Weapon System launched a PAC-3 MSE interceptor against a virtual threat, demonstrating the successful integration of the PAC-3 MSE interceptor into the THAAD system.
THAAD is the only U.S. system designed for endo-and exo-battlespace, using Hit-to-Kill technology to execute its lethal aim-point accuracy to intercept a threat with direct impact.
PAC-3 MSE is an evolution of the battle-proven PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) and also uses Hit-to-Kill technology to defend against threats through direct body-to-body contact that delivers exponentially more kinetic energy on the target than can be achieved with blast-fragmentation mechanisms.