25 Nov 05. Lockheed Martin briefed BATTLESPACE on developments in the PAC-3 missile program. The company has a production contract for 108 missiles a year for a total of 1000 missiles for 9 Battalions. In addition Lockheed Martin has recently announced a co-production contract with Japan to reinforce that country’s ballistic missile defence; Japan may not require the lightweight launcher system.
Current PAC-3 customers include: Netherlands, the first customer, Japan under FMS, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia in February, Kuwait, UAE with the longer range THAAD and Turkey which is researching options. Other potentials include India but there is a problem with regard to the technology transfer of the seeker that takes up 50% of unit cost.
The multi-national MEADS program involving Germany and Italy has moved into the Design & Developments stage and PAC-3 has commenced a spiral development Missile Segment Enhancement program that includes greater capability for the missile.
There are currently nine Patriot users some of whom may not require this enhanced capability but all will receive the BMC4-I enhanced ‘plug and fight’ open architecture software enhancement.
The THAAD missile had its first launch at White Sands with 4 additional tests to come, including the ground segment and battle command. Flight 3 will test the seeker characterisation and Flight 4 the seeker intercept capability – the Program will then move to Hawaii.