MIM-104F Patriot PAC-3

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Product Type:

Surface-to-air missile defense system

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

Upgrades (U.S.)

Prime Contractor:

Raytheon Company (system)
Lockheed Martin Corp. (missile)

The PAC-3 Patriot Surface-to-Air Missile System

About Patriot & PAC-3:

The U.S. Army's MIM-104F Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile, developed and produced by Lockheed Martin, is the primary interceptor for Raytheon's Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Patriot is the only combat-proven system capable of defeating tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft worldwide. Patriot replaced the MIM-14 Nike Hercules and MIM-23 Hawk systems.

The PAC-3 missile is the world's most advanced, capable and powerful terminal air defense missile The baseline PAC-3 missile is a high velocity interceptor that defeats incoming targets by direct impact. When deployed in a Patriot battery, PAC-3 missiles significantly increase the missile system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3s load-out on a Patriot launcher compared to just four Patriot PAC-2 missiles. The PAC-3 Missile is equipped with a solid propellant rocket motor from Aerojet Rocketdyne; 180 small attitude control motors (Aerojet Rocketdyne); a Boeing Ka band millimeter wave active radar seeker; aerodynamic controls; and an inertial guidance system (INS) to navigate. Operational testing of the PAC-3 missile began in late 2001 and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved in 2003. In October 2010, Lockheed Martin delivered the 1,000th PAC-3 missile to the Army.

The PAC-3 consists of the PAC-3 missile, the PAC-3 missile canisters (in four packs), a fire solution computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES). These elements are integrated into the Patriot Missile System, a high to medium altitude, long-range air defense missile system providing air defense of ground combat forces and high-value assets. The heart of the Patriot Missile System is the fire control section, which consists of the AN/MPQ-65 Radar Set (the AN/MPQ-53 equips PAC-2 units), the AN/MSQ-104 Engagement Control Station (ECS), the OE-349 Antenna Mast Group (AMG), and the EPP-III Electric Power Plant. The missiles are transported by and launched from the M901 Launching Station (mounted on M860 semi-trailers and towed by the M983 HEMTT Patriot Tractor), which carries up to sixteen PAC-3 missiles.

The task of the AN/MPQ-65 Radar Set (mounted on M860 semi-trailers and towed by the M983 HEMTT Patriot Tractor) is to sweep the sky for enemy threats and determine whether the incoming object is an aircraft, missile, or UAV. The AN/MPQ-65 is a passive electronically scanned array radar.

From the AN/MSQ-104 ECS, a crew of three operators communicate and monitor/prioritize threats. The ECS consists of a shelter mounted on the chassis of the M927 Medium Tactical Vehicle or on the chassis of a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV).

The OE-349 AMG is mounted on the chassis of a M927 Medium Tactical Vehicle. It includes four 4 kW antennas in two pairs on remotely controlled masts. The EPP-III Diesel-Electric Power Plant is the power source for the ECS and Radar Set. The EPP consists of two 150 kW diesel engines interconnected with 400 hertz generators. The generators are mounted on a modified M977 HEMTT.

When launched, the PAC-3 missile flies to an intercept point specified prior to launch by its ground-based fire solution computer. Target trajectory data can be updated during flyout by the means of a radio frequency uplink/downlink. Shortly before arrival at the intercept point, the missile's on board Ka-band seeker acquires the target, selects the optimal aim point and initiates terminal guidance. The attitude control motors, located in the missile forebody, fire explosively to refine the PAC-3 missile's course to assure direct body-to-body impact.

The Patriot Missile System can work in concert with the higher-tier THAAD system. Also, Patriot can accept cues from the AEGIS BMD Combat System, and the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) System. The Army and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) jointly continue to evolve the successful integration of PAC-3 capabilities into the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

On October 25, 2012, the AEGIS BMD Combat System, the PAC-3 missile, and THAAD (incl. two AN/TPY-2 radars) engaged in the first-ever test of all three systems working together.

The Patriot Missile System is in service with 13 nations worldwide and is expected to be in operation beyond 2050. The global team of Patriot suppliers includes more than 2,700 companies.

Lower Tier AMD:

The Army's Lower-Tier Air-and-Missile Defense (LT AMD) program supports the Patriot Missile System's performance, reliability, and communications and addresses obsolescence and sustainment issues. The program supports the Field Surveillance Program (FSP), PAC-3 Missile Support Center (P3MSC), International Engineering Services Program (IESP), Integrated Logistics Support (ILS), and System Engineering Program Management (SEPM) activities.

A key objective of the LT AMD program is to upgrade or replace the current Patriot radar to improve the operational effectiveness against the emerging threat while reducing sustainment costs associated with the current radar. The Army's IOC target for the new Patriot Radar is prior to FY 2028. Likely candidates are Raytheon's Gallium Nitride (GaN) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and Lockheed Martin's MEADS 360-degree rotating X-band Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR).

PAC-3 Production Forecast:

A 15-year PAC-3 production forecast is available through Forecast International's Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year PAC-3 production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International's Missile Forecast service.


The Patriot system contributes to the Ballistic Missile Defense System's overall situational awareness for short range terminal ballistic missile threats. It can cue other systems while protecting BMDS assets. The Patriot system is further enhanced by networked BMDS remote sensors supplying early warning data, thus, increasing the probability of successful threat engagement. The PAC-3 units are the combatant commanders' most capable system to protect soldiers, allies, and assets against these threats.

FY 2020 & FY 2021 - PAC-3 + Lower Tier AMD DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Raytheon Co., Aerojet Rocketdyne, and The Boeing Company.

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