A German-modified M903 launcher successfully launched a Lockheed Martin PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor in a flight test today. The Germany Tactical Test / Operational Test 3 flight test was conducted by the German Air Force against a virtual tactical ballistic missile target to prove compatibility between PAC-3 MSE and the German-modified Patriot M903 launching station. MBDA Deutschland partnered with Lockheed Martin to perform the necessary modifications of the launcher to enable the integration of the PAC-3 MSE missile. The test was a critical final step before Lockheed Martin delivers the first shipment of PAC-3 MSEs to Germany.
“Delivering PAC-3 MSE to Germany will enhance German air defense capabilities and increase lethality against evolving threats. The recent flight test proves that PAC-3 MSE is ready for deployment in Germany,” said Dennis Goege, Lockheed Martin Vice President of Central and East Europe.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary such system used by the United States Army and several allied states. It is manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target”, which is a backronym for “Patriot”. Patriot uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems. Patriot was developed at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
The U.S. and German governments reached an agreement in 2019 for the procurement of PAC-3 MSE. Germany already employed the PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) interceptor in their air defense arsenal. PAC-3 missiles defend against incoming threats – including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft – through direct body-to-body contact delivering exponentially more kinetic energy on the target than can be achieved with blast-fragmentation kill mechanisms. Building on the combat-proven PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI), the PAC-3 MSE expands the lethal battlespace with a two-pulse solid rocket motor.