U.S. Army conducts intercept of cruise missile at record distance

The U.S. Army and defense contractors successfully intercepted a cruise missile at an extended range during flight test using the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) with Sentinel and Patriot radars and a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor.

The test marked the furthest distance a PAC-3 CRI missile has intercepted an ABT while integrated with the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) leveraging multiple sensors on the Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN).

A PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) interceptor successfully intercepted an Air-Breathing Threat (ABT), which represents cruise missiles, at a record distance in a test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The defense consisted of battery and battalion IBCS engagement operations centers, a Patriot radar and two Sentinel radars, and two PAC-3 launchers connected at the component level to the IBCS integrated fire control network. Because the low altitude flight path of the target obscured it from the Patriot radar’s field of view, the IBCS correctly used measurement data from the Sentinel radars to form a composite track from which IBCS calculated and presented the engagement solution. The engagement operations center operator then commanded, via the IBCS mission control software, the launch of a single PAC-3 interceptor missile to destroy the target.

Military Headlines

“The August flight test further demonstrates the critical role IBCS plays in integrating fires and sensors to defeat stressing threats,” said Maj. Gen. Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “An IBCS-enabled Patriot battalion is currently in new equipment training, and soldiers will spend the coming months learning the system and executing their own simulated battles in collective training, before entering into operational testing and live fire exercises next summer. This week’s successful event validates the interoperability of the system and the maturity of the hardware and software design in support of ongoing soldier training and testing.”

The U.S. Army-led missile defense flight test demonstrated the unique Hit-to-Kill capability of the PAC-3 family of missiles, which defends against threats through direct body-to-body contact delivering exponentially more kinetic energy on the target than can be achieved with legacy blast-fragmentation kill mechanisms. The test also reconfirmed PAC-3 CRI ability to detect, track and intercept incoming ABTs or missiles.

“PAC-3 continues to be successful against today’s evolving threats, and this most recent test validates its effectiveness at long distance while integrated into the AIAMD architecture,” said Scott Arnold, vice president and deputy of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Today’s global security environment demands reliable solutions. We expect PAC-3 Hit-to-Kill interceptors to continue serving as an essential element in integrated, layered defense systems.”

The PAC-3 CRI and MSE are high-velocity interceptors that defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. Thirteen nations have procured the PAC-3 missile defense interceptor: the U.S., Germany, Kuwait, Japan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

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