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    HomeMilitaryLockheed's PAC-3 MSE Soars in Groundbreaking Aegis System Test

    Lockheed’s PAC-3 MSE Soars in Groundbreaking Aegis System Test

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    Lockheed Martin announced this week that it successfully tested its PAC-3 missile interceptor in conjunction with a virtual Aegis system.

    During the test at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the PAC-3 system was launched from an Mk 70 containerized launching system and successfully intercepted a cruise missile.

    Tom Copeman, Lockheed Martin’s strategy and naval programs vice president and a former surface warfare officer, emphasized the potential of these systems to fortify the U.S. with an advanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability against agile threats.

    “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,” he said.

    When approached by USNI News for details about the test timing, Lockheed Martin declined to disclose.

    However, the company highlighted in a news release that this test marked the inaugural deployment of PAC-3 MSE in conjunction with the Virtualized Aegis Weapon System for intercepting a live target.

    The Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems supervised the test, as confirmed by a company spokesperson speaking to USNI News.

    Under PEO IWS, a rapid capabilities office was established to swiftly deploy weapon systems using various radars alongside a portable Aegis combat system.

    Jim Juster, the chief technology officer for PEO IWS, explained earlier this year that by integrating mature technology from a DoD partner with their portable Aegis combat system and an over-the-horizon targeting loop, they created a portable Aegis combat system deployable beyond traditional naval platforms.

    “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 expressed.

    “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,” he said.

    Notably, the office conducted 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) last year and fired an SM-6 from a containerized launcher on the unmanned vessel Ranger in 2021.

    U.S. Army Patriot launching station with two PAC-3 containers and one PAC-3 MSE container mounted on static display at Slovac International Airfest, Malacky Air Base, September 2022

    Additionally, Lockheed Martin tested loading the Army’s PAC-3 into an MK 41 vertical launch system.

    In its Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal, the Army sought approval to purchase 230 PAC-3 missile segment enhancement interceptors for $963 million.

    “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.

    Relevant articles:
    Lockheed Test Fires Army Patriot Missile Using Aegis Combat System, USNI News
    Lockheed to test Patriot and Aegis integration in live-fire test, Defense News
    US Army fires PAC-3 missile from Aegis launcher for first time, Naval Technology
    Lockheed Martin Conducts Test of PAC-3 MSE with Aegis Weapon System fo, Army Recognition

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