Lockheed Martin is advancing a series of internally funded concept studies to leverage the hit-to-kill technologies evolved for its Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor.
The idea is to establish a family of hit-to-kill interceptors in various classes for air-, ship-, and, land-launched applications, ranging from the developmental 0.76 m Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor up to the 5.8 m PAC-3 MSE.
“We are evaluating a whole range of new systems that are smaller than PAC-3 MSE, but incorporate PAC-3 MSE fundamental technologies, that would give us a hit-to-kill capability, in a number of different classes, that could fly in a number of different regimes and against a number of different targets,” Tim Cahill, Lockheed Martin vice-president for Integrated Air and Missile Defense, told Jane’s .
Cahill said the driver for the initiative is a growing requirement for a comprehensive layered air- and missile-defence capability to address a wide range of extant and evolving threats. “The adversaries are getting smarter, stronger, and more capable – and they are going to find the gaps. So this necessitates full layered defence, with full 360° surveillance systems covering all altitudes and all azimuths, and that requires us thinking about different size interceptors and being able to put them on whatever platform make sense,” he said.
Cahill said that while the traditional approach to interceptor development generally focuses on the application – e.g. Patriot, PAC-3, and PAC-3 MSE were developed as land-launched applications – those same systems could have applicability and capability, either in the air or at sea. Included in the concept studies is a potential ship-launched, and possibly air-launched, application for the PAC-3 MSE interceptor; and the development of a new interceptor in the 1.8 m-class for all three domains.
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