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PAC-3 interceptor communicates with the AN/SPY-1 radar for first time

Lockheed Martin completed another milestone in its efforts to integrate the PAC-3 missile with Aegis. (Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin's Patriot Advanced Capability – 3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor successfully communicated with the AN/SPY-1 radar, a key component in the Aegis Weapon System, for the first time, the company confirmed on 10 July.

“This successful test is a major step forward to fully integrate PAC-3 MSE into the Aegis Weapon System,” Tom Copeman, vice-president, Naval Systems, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a statement.

The Aegis Ashore testing with PAC-3 took place during September and November 2022.

Lockheed Martin needed to modify the PAC-3 MSE Radio Frequency Data Link to communicate with the SPY-1 radar for successful integration of the PAC-3 MSE with the Aegis Weapon System, the company noted.

Lockheed Martin had to convert PAC-3 MSE's existing dual-band datalink to a tri-band datalink to communicate with the SPY-1, which operates on an S-band. The company funded the effort, which, Lockheed Martin said, “validates the initial integration of this capability”.

The PAC-3 MSE programme is ramping up to 550 MSEs a year, with plans to continue growing, Lockheed Martin said. The company opened a new 85,000 sq ft building expansion at the Camden, Arkansas, facility in 2022 to support increased production capacity for PAC-3 MSE, Lockheed Martin added.

The PAC-3 integration into Aegis would complement Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) operations, reserving PAC-3s for missile defence in a gap-filling role, according to Joe DePietro, company vice-president and general manager for Naval Combat and Missile Defense Systems.

To fully integrate into the Aegis Weapon System, Lockheed Martin is investing in PAC-3 MSE integration with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), DePietro, told Janes

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