Lockheed Martin has received an order worth $556 million from the US Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) for hardware and services associated with the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles.
Lockheed said that the contracts include production of 148 hit-to-kill PAC-3 missiles, 17 launcher modification kits, spares and other equipment, as well as programme management and engineering services.
It expects to complete deliveries on the contract by July 2010.
As part of the contract, Lockheed Martin will also be producing and delivering equipment designed to upgrade all US Army Patriot batteries to the current Configuration-3 capability, which will essentially allow all Patriot batteries to deploy the PAC-3 missile. This US Army initiative, called ''Pure Fleet,'' was launched in 2006 and will provide consistency across the Patriot batteries.
Lockheed says that the PAC-3 missile is currently the world's only fielded pure kinetic energy air defence missile. It also says that the PAC-3 missile is the world's most advanced, capable and powerful theatre air defence missile, which is capable of defeating all forms of tactical ballistic missiles, evolving cruise missiles and fixed and rotary winged aircraft.
According to Lockheed, PAC-3 missiles significantly increase the Patriot system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3s load out on a single Patriot launcher, compared with four legacy Patriot PAC-2 missiles.
The Patriot programme
Lockheed Martin achieved the first-ever hit-to-kill intercept in 1984 with the Homing Overlay Experiment, using force of impact alone to destroy a mock warhead outside of the Earth's atmosphere. Further development and testing, it says, has produced today's PAC-3 missile, which won a competition in 1993 to become the first hit-to-kill interceptor produced by the US government.
The PAC-3 missile has been the technology pathfinder for today's total conversion to kinetic energy interceptors for all modern missile defence systems.
Currently, the Lockheed Martin-developed Aegis Weapon System, PAC-3 Missile, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) utilize this proven advanced technology to deliver lethality against today's most dangerous threats.
The PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile has been selected as the US primary interceptor for the multi-national MEADS, a model transatlantic programme for the next generation of air and missile defence.
MEADS will focus on risk reduction, application of key technologies and validation of a system design incorporating the PAC-3 MSE missile as the primary interceptor.