The Phased Array Tracking to Intercept of Target (PATRIOT) Advanced Capability-Three (PAC-3) program is an air-defense, guided missile system with long-range, medium- to high-altitude, all-weather capabilities. It is designed to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft. The combat element of the PATRIOT missile system is the fire unit, which consists of the following: a phased array radar set; an engagement control station; a battery command post; an electric power plant; an antenna mast group; a communications relay group; and launching stations with missiles.
The radar set provides the tactical functions of airspace surveillance, target detection, identification, classification, tracking, missile guidance, and engagement support. The ECS provides command and control. Depending upon configuration, the LS provides the platform for PAC-2 or PAC-3 missiles, which are sealed in canisters that serve as shipping containers and launch tubes.
The PAC-3 primary mission is to engage TBMs, and advanced cruise missile and aircraft threats. The PAC-3 missile uses hit-to-kill technology for greater lethality against TBMs armed with weapons of mass destruction. The PAC-3 system upgrades have provided improvements that increase performance against evolving threats, meet user requirements, and enhance Joint interoperability.
PATRIOT’s fast-reaction capability, high firepower, ability to track numerous targets simultaneously, and ability to operate in a severe environment make it the U.S. Army’s premier air defense system. The PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, currently in development, is planned to be used with the PAC-3 system and is the interceptor for the Medium Extended Air Defense System.