Lockheed Martin successfully launched a PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor from an MK-70 containerised launch platform to engage and destroy a cruise missile target in flight.

This test marks the first time PAC-3 MSE was launched in this configuration, utilising the Virtualised Aegis Weapon System to intercept a live target.

“This successful test showcases Lockheed Martin’s commitment to developing mission-focused, integrated technology to keep those who serve ahead of evolving threats,” said Tom Copeman, vice president of Strategy and Naval Programs at Lockheed Martin.

“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.”

Lockheed Martin aims to enhance the IAMD capabilities of the U.S.’s most modern combat systems to defend against simultaneous advanced air, surface, and missile threats. The PAC-3 is designed to counter advanced threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, hypersonic missiles, and aircraft.

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

14 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Bob
Bob (@guest_821104)
1 month ago

If PAC3 is a “One shot one kill” missile like Aster this truly is a major upgrade for the Burkes.

Netking
Netking (@guest_821140)
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

There is no such thing as a “one shot one kill” interceptor.

Paul
Paul (@guest_821201)
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

PAC-3 is hit to kill, but so is the much longer ranged SM-3. It’s an apples to oranges comparison as SM-3 is an exoatmospheric weapon, but the USN already has hit-to-kill weapons. PAC3 is an interesting issue for the USN, they don’t seem to be asking for it, LM is pushing it. But it does offer some advantages. It can address more stressing terminal BMD targets then the SM-6, but has dramatically less range in a normal air to air role, and PAC-3 cost looks similar to SM-6. SM-6 is more versatile and can also attack surface targets. PAC-3 in… Read more »

DaveyB.
DaveyB. (@guest_821230)
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

According to LM, PAC-3 can be quad loaded (as per ESSM) in a strike length MK41 VLS. I think the main driver, has been the expenditure of missiles whilst patrolling the Red Sea. Plus the need to return to port to replenish.

I can see the logic, as the PAC 3 is a direct replacement for the latest SM-2. But instead of one SM-2 per cell, you can now have four PAC-3s. So if 20 SM-2s were loaded, you have now replaced them with 80 PAC-3s. Thereby allowing the ship to stay on station for longer.

Paul
Paul (@guest_821237)
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB.

I’m certainly not an expert, but the only PAC-3 multi-missile per MK-41 cell option I’ve heard or read about was a dual pack, and even then the fins would need to fold differently, necessitating a re-design. I’ve never seen a quad pack PAC-3 option for the MK-41. I’m interested if you have seen it though, can you post (or type) a link if you have an article?

Netking
Netking (@guest_821241)
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB.

I don’t think the pac-3 is able to replace the SM-2 as it’s defended area against air breathing threats is significantly smaller to that of the PAC-2 or SM-2. Although it is able to intercept these other threats, it’s main design driver was to be a dedicated ABM missile.

Netking
Netking (@guest_821236)
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Great post, although I would argue that the PAC-3 is more than a one trick pony. It’s is able to intercept air breathing threats but as far as I understand it’s defended area for cruise missiles, FW and RW aircraft is much smaller to that of the PAC-2.

I do think the USN will eventually go for it as the need for ABM missiles will only increase in time and as the threat of of anti ship ballistic missiles continue to advance and proliferate, the need for it will only increase.

Paul
Paul (@guest_821238)
1 month ago
Reply to  Netking

By one trick pony I meant that PAC-3 is “only” an AA/BMD defensive weapon and doesn’t have an anti-surface capability, while the SM-6 does, I should have specified:)

I’d very much like to see PAC-3/MK41/AEGIS integration move forward, but I can understand the USN’s seeming reluctance to jump on it.

Netking
Netking (@guest_821257)
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

HI Paul,

I did get your point and I only mentioned it because there are some indications that some of the Russian aircraft intercepted over Ukraine was from a pac-3 although I haven’t seen any official confirmation. I’m totally with you with regards to pac3 for the usn but I’m sure there are significant logistics and integration considerations involved.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_821149)
1 month ago

Will the UK look at trialling a modified Meteor from MK41s or even a NASAM style launcher for GBAD? If others are exploring this things, why not the UK?

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_821252)
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

It’s not a bad idea, but my concern is whether the booster would give enough thrust to get the ramjet working if it’s also needing to vertical launch from stationary. It may need to be a very large rocket!
I’d personally rather see them but some SAMP/T and more Sky Sabre first- They’re both proven missiles and have capabilities that we need. Those ASRAAM launchers on the Supacat would be a good shout too.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_821440)
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

ASRAAM on Supacat would probably need quite a bit of development to turn it into an actual air defence system. In Ukraine, it is just the missiles on their aircraft launch rails bolted to a hand-operated elevation and rotation mount.
It could work much better it, for example, the missile was in a tube with folding fins so that more could be carried and if there was an actual fire control system.
If the vehicle could carry 6 of the missiles then it would be really useful but as is was a bodge to get air defence for Ukraine quickly.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_822395)
1 month ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Abide that works and the Ukrainians like?

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_822419)
1 month ago

The Ukrainians like it because when it arrived they were desperately short of air defence and just needed to scare Russian helicopters away. In other words, they only needed enough of a threat to act as a basic deterrence against incursions in one small area. It works, but not against any coordinated attempt to defeat or destroy it. If we wanted ASRAAM as a dedicated SHORAD system, then there is no reason not to make the basic modifications needed to significantly improve the capability. ASRAAM is modular after all; how hard could it be to just build some ASRAAM that… Read more »