|PAC-3 Intercept Test a Partial Success|
PAC-3 Intercept Test a Partial Success
From Army News Service
Huntsville, Alabama -- (ANS) July 17, 2001 -- The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the Army conducted a test of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., July 9.
The PAC-3 missile successfully intercepted the jet aircraft, officials said, but missed the ballistic missile target. Officials said the intercept of the jet aircraft was actually more difficult, because it was emitting radar-jamming signals.
The test's objective, officials said, was to simultaneously engage both a theater ballistic missile and a remotely piloted jet aircraft with two PAC-3 missiles. The theater ballistic missile engagement was at short-range and medium altitude, and the aircraft engagement was a long-range, low altitude mission.
"Today's test was more stressing than all previous tests," said Col. Tom Newberry, Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense project manager. "Prior to today, the missiles were dropped, vibrated and heated to represent severe handling of 30 years in stockpile. For test purposes today, only one PAC-3 missile was fired at the ballistic missile target. In actual combat, two PAC-3 missiles may be fired at these targets to ensure their destruction. Extensive post-mission analysis will be conducted to determine if further modifications to the PAC-3 system are required prior to full-rate production."
The PAC-3 missile is a high velocity, hit-to-kill missile and is the next generation Patriot missile being developed to provide increased defense capability against advanced tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and hostile aircraft, officials said. Unlike earlier Patriot missile explosive warheads, the PAC-3 missile literally collides with its target in mid-air at extremely high speed, destroying the target and neutralizing its payload.
The PAC-3 missile successfully completed nine flight tests prior to the July 9 test. The first two PAC-3 developmental test missions did not involve targets but were structured to verify critical systems and missile performance prior to conducting target intercept flight tests, officials said.
A seeker characterization flight mission was conducted March 15, 1999, to test a PAC-3 missile with a seeker. Although not a primary objective, an intercept of the target was achieved. On Sept. 16, 1999, a second intercept test was successful. DT-5, conducted Feb. 5, 2000, was a successful intercept of a Hera ballistic missile target. DT-7, conducted July 22, 2000, was a successful intercept of an MQM-107 drone representing a cruise missile. Another MQM-107 was intercepted July 28, 2000 during a test not included in the developmental test program. DT-6, conducted Oct. 14, 2000, was a successful intercept of a Storm target by a PAC-3 missile with a simultaneous engagement of an MQM-107 by a PAC-2 missile.
The most recent test, DT-8, was also the most complex, officials said. It involved a simultaneous engagement of a Hera ballistic missile target using two PAC-3 missiles and a Patriot missile configured as a target by a PAC-2 missile. There were five missiles (two targets and three interceptors) in the air at one time and both targets were destroyed.
(Editor's note: Information taken from a BMDO news release.)