Lockheed Gains PAC-3 Missile Study Contract From MDA
The Missile Defense Agency gave Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] a $3 million contract to continue a study relating to PAC-3 missiles, the company announced.
The Lockheed study focuses on the Air-Launched Hit-to-Kill (ALHTK) initiative, which would enable fighter aircraft to carry and launch Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to intercept hostile ballistic and cruise missiles.
Envisioned to protect the homeland from missile threats, ALHTK also could defend deployed forces.
A risk assessment contract wrapped up last April identified the feasibility of pursuing this high-payoff concept.
The new Risk Reduction/Concept Definition Program will refine the risk, and further define the concept and expected system performance.
“This study matures the concept of operations for launching the hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile from tactical fighter aircraft and prepares us for the next phase, a proposed system demonstration of the capability,” said Mike Trotsky, vice president for air and missile defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
“Equipping fighter jets with PAC-3 Missiles would provide Combat Air Patrols or scrambled aircraft the ability to defeat cruise missiles and intercept ballistic missiles in asymmetric defense and boost phase applications. Although cruise missile defense capabilities are inherent with this concept, this MDA contract will focus on ALHTK capabilities against ballistic missiles.”
The initial operational concept would fit in with North American Air Defense operational architecture, fielded at first on F-15C fighter aircraft. Future spiral development plans may aim to equip other aircraft with the capability.