Aerojet Rocketdyne has delivered the 1,000th propulsion system for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile, the enhanced version of the combat-proven PAC-3. Using hit-to-kill technology, Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3 MSE protects American forces and our allies from aircraft, cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles. Aerojet Rocketdyne powers the PAC-3 MSE with a revolutionary two-pulse solid rocket motor, providing increased performance in both altitude and range.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne is proud to provide the propulsion that has powered the PAC-3 air defense missile system since its inception,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “The new facility under construction at our Camden, Arkansas site will enable increased production capacity and affordability, and is sized and equipped to support next-generation Army requirements.”
In the 1990’s Aerojet Rocketdyne first began providing the solid propulsion for ERINT (Extended Range Interceptor) which later became known as PAC-3. Today’s PAC-3 missiles are typically deployed in a Patriot M903 launcher which accommodates 16 PAC-3 or 12 PAC-3 MSE missiles. Since 2000, Aerojet Rocketdyne has produced the PAC-3 CRI solid rocket motor, and since 2004 the small, short-duration solid propellant Attitude Control Motors (ACMs) for PAC-3 missile variants at its facility in Camden, Arkansas.
Each PAC-3 CRI interceptor contains 180 ACMs. The solid motors fire explosively to refine the missile’s course and ensure body-to-body impact. In January 2017, Aerojet Rocketdyne delivered its 2,500th PAC-3 CRI rocket motor and 500,000th PAC-3 ACM to customer Lockheed Martin. Aerojet Rocketdyne also produces the PAC-3 MSE propulsion system, a larger, advanced two-pulse solid rocket motor and the Lethality Enhancer (LE) for the upgraded PAC-3 MSE missile.
The propulsion system is manufactured at the company’s Camden, Arkansas site, which is recognized as Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Solid Rocket Motor Center of Excellence. The company is building a new facility in Camden to consolidate PAC-3 MSE manufacturing activities. Equipped with advanced technology, the new facility will increase efficiency and safety, decrease logistical requirements and costs, and provide for a substantial increase in production capacity.
Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion powers every PAC-3 variant in production. In addition to the propulsion system, the company also provides the Attitude Control Motors and Lethality Enhancer for both the PAC-3 MSE and the PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative. The PAC-3 upgrade is a significant upgrade to nearly every aspect of the MIM-104 Patriot (Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target) system.