Taiwan News reported that Taiwan’s military will soon test-fire Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) systems at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Target drone will first be launched to simulate a Chinese medium-range missile, before Taiwan fires off two Patriot III missiles to intercept it. A live-fire verification test of Taiwan’s Patriot missiles is carried out every two years and it can only be performed in the U.S., due to security concerns. PAC-3 hade been stationed on Taiwan’s east coast in a response to China’s changing military strategy.
Therefore, the East Asian nation always sends a team to White Sands to carry out the drill. Taiwan and Japan are the only countries that conduct missile tests in the U.S., according to Liberty Times. Japan and South Korea have reportedly also ordered MSE systems. Seven other countries, mostly in the Middle East and Europe, have purchased them as well. Taiwan will host Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) systems from the United States in 2025 and 2026.
Taiwan and the U.S. agreed on a procurement deal for similar systems during talks in 2019. While the new missiles have a longer reach, they are also larger, allowing only 12 units per launch vehicle as opposed to 16 for the previous Patriot variant. The delivery and stationing of the original Patriots were completed in 2017 with a budget of more than NT$179 billion (US$6.28 billion). Previous reports have mentioned that 300 new projectiles are being added to the nation’s existing arsenal of 350 older Patriot missiles.
MIM-104F Patriot Advanced Capability 3 is a significant PATRIOT upgrade to nearly every aspect of the system. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade to the Patriot air defense system which will make the missile more agile and extend its range by up to 50%. The PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade consists of the PAC-3 missile, a very agile hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 missile canisters (in four packs), a fire solution computer, and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES).