The Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept of Target (PATRIOT) Missile protects ground forces and critical assets at all echelons from advanced aircraft, cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles (TBM). The PATRIOT Advanced Capability – 3 (PAC-3) is the Army’s premier guided air-and-missile defense (AMD) system providing highly reactive hit-to-kill capability in both range and altitude while operating in all environments.

The combat element of the PATRIOT system is the fire unit, primarily consisting of a radar set (RS), engagement control station (ECS) and launching stations (LS). The RS provides airspace surveillance, target detection, identification, classification, simultaneous tracking of targets, missile guidance and engagement support. The LS performs transport and missile launch functions remotely operated from the ECS, which provides command and control. The LS has a load-out capacity of between 12 and 16 PAC-3 missiles depending on configuration. The PAC-3 missile was initially fielded in 2001, introducing hit-to-kill technology for greater lethality against TBM, cruise missiles and aircraft carrying weapons of mass destruction. The combination of a highly responsive airframe and attitude control motors generates an angle of attack that would not be achievable with actuator-driven aerodynamic control surfaces alone.

The PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE), fielded in 2015, represents the next generation PAC-3 missile and provides expanded battlespace performance against complex threats. The PAC-3 MSE improves upon the original PAC-3 capability with a higher performance solid rocket motor, modified lethality enhancer, more responsive control surfaces, upgraded guidance software and insensitive
munitions improvements.

PAC-3 milestone authority was assigned to the Army in 2004. The Army Acquisition Executive remains the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) for the PAC-3 while the Defense Acquisition Executive is the MDA for the PAC-3 MSE. The Army continues to modernize PATRIOT through phased efforts to maintain and improve system capabilities in the complex threat environment. This modernization provides greater resilience against advanced threats and leverages the enlarged engagement area afforded by the PAC-3 MSE interceptor. PATRIOT is transitioning to the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System networked architecture.


PATRIOT is a combat-proven ground-based AMD system that is providing critical AMD protection to the warfighter in 15 countries. Twelve foreign partners have PATRIOT in their inventories.


  • Advanced multifunction radar
  • Engagement control operations
  • Launcher capable of remote operations
  • Deployed by fire units organized within a battalion
  • Supported by ancillary communications and maintenance ground support equipment
  • Designed to defend against current and emerging threats, including weapons of mass destruction


  • FY13-FY15: Post-Deployment Build-7 (PDB-7) fielding
  • 2QFY14: PAC-3 MSE Milestone C Defense Acquisition Board
  • 1QFY16: PAC-3 MSE First Unit Equipped


  • 1QFY17: PAC-3 MSE Initial Operational Capability
  • 3QFY17: PDB-8 and PAC-3 MSE Initial Operational Test & Evaluation
  • 1QFY18: PAC-3 MSE Full-Rate Production


PAC-3: Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Korea


  • Missile Program Management Team: Lockheed Martin (Dallas, TX)
  • Missile Assembly: Lockheed Martin (Camden, AR)
  • System Integration/Ground Equipment: Raytheon (Andover, MA)