BMD Watch: Lockheed wins PAC-3 contract

By MARTIN SIEFF, UPI Senior News Analyst   |   Jan. 11, 2008 at 10:16 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin said Tuesday it had "received contracts totaling $556 million from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command for hardware and services associated with the combat-proven Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile program."

"The contracts include production of 148 hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles, 17 launcher modification kits, spares and other equipment, as well as program management and engineering services. Production of all equipment will take place at Lockheed Martin manufacturing facilities in Dallas and Lufkin, TX, Chelmsford, MA, Ocala, FL, and the PAC-3 All-Up Round facility in Camden, AR. Deliveries on the contracts will be completed by July 2010," the company said.

"The PAC-3 Missile offers combat-proven hit-to-kill lethality to protect the war fighter," said Mike Trotsky, vice president -- Air & Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "We continue to see interest in the PAC-3 Missile Segment around the world, and Lockheed Martin remains focused on producing this vital technology for our customers, both here and abroad."

Lockheed Martin said it would "be producing and delivering equipment to begin upgrading all U.S. Army Patriot fire units to the current Configuration-3 capability -- two PAC-3 launchers per fire unit -- allowing all fire units in the Patriot fleet to be capable of firing the PAC-3 Missile. This U.S. Army initiative, called 'Pure Fleet,' was launched in 2006 and will provide consistency across the fleet for the user anywhere Patriot is deployed or trained," the company said.

"The PAC-3 Missile will continue to provide theater-level defense of critical assets for years to come," said Richard McDaniel, director of PAC-3 Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "PAC-3 provides our Soldiers with lethality over-match against the ever-advancing threat on today's battlefield."

Lockheed Martin said it was "the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade to the Patriot air defense system. The PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade consists of the PAC-3 Missile, a highly agile hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 Missile canisters -- which each hold four PAC-3 missiles, with four canisters per launcher, a Fire Solution Computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System."

"The PAC-3 Missile is currently the world's only fielded pure kinetic energy air defense missile. The PAC-3 Missile is the world's most advanced, capable and powerful theater air defense missile. It defeats the Patriot Air Defense System threat: tactical ballistic missiles, evolving cruise missiles and fixed and rotary winged aircraft. PAC-3 Missiles significantly increase the Patriot system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3s load out on a single Patriot launcher, compared with four legacy Patriot PAC-2 missiles," the company said.

Lockheed Martin said it "achieved the first-ever hit-to-kill intercept in 1984 with the Homing Overlay Experiment, using force of impact alone to destroy a mock warhead outside of the Earth's atmosphere. Further development and testing produced today's PAC-3 Missile, which won a competition in 1993 to become the first hit-to-kill interceptor produced by the U.S. government. The PAC-3 Missile has been the technology pathfinder for today's total conversion to kinetic energy interceptors for all modern missile defense systems."

"Currently, the Lockheed Martin-developed Aegis Weapon System, PAC-3 Missile, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense – THAAD -- Weapon System, the Medium Extended Air Defense System – MEADS -- and the Multiple Kill Vehicle – MKV -- utilize this proven advanced technology to deliver lethality against today's most dangerous threats," the company said.

"The PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement -- MSE -- missile has been selected as the U.S. primary interceptor for the multi-national MEADS, a model transatlantic program for the next generation of air and missile defense. MEADS will focus on risk reduction, application of key technologies and validation of a system design incorporating the PAC-3 MSE Missile as the primary interceptor," Lockheed Martin said.

Poll shows Czechs opposing BMD radar base plan

A Russian newspaper said Thursday that more than two-thirds of Czechs now oppose the construction of a U.S. ballistic missile defense radar installation in their country to help protect the United States and Western Europe from intercontinental or intermediate-range ballistic missile attack from Iran or other so-called rogue states.

Kommersant reported that the poll conducted in the Czech Republic in December by the CVVM polling company found that 70 percent of respondents in all were hostile to the radar project. Of that number, 44 percent said they were strongly opposed while the other 26 percent said they were just negatively inclined towards it. In all, some 1,056 respondents replied to the poll, Kommersant reported.

Only 7 percent of respondents strongly supported their country hosting the BMD radar installation with another 16 percent somewhat supportive of the idea. However, an even larger figure, 73 percent, or nearly three-quarters of those polled, said they wanted a national referendum to be held on the issue before their government agreed to it. Only 19 percent, less than one in five of those polled, said they did not think a referendum was necessary on the issue.

The results of the poll come after hostility to the program in Central Europe received a sharp boost with the election of Donald Tusk to head the new Polish government that was formed last month. Tusk, his foreign minister and his defense minister have all already signaled their determination to improve relations with Russia, which fiercely opposes the construction of the radar installation and an accompanying site to hold 10 U.S. Ground-based Mid-Course Interceptors capable of intercepting ICBMs from Iran aimed at the United States or Western Europe.

Kommersant noted that the poll recorded a much higher level of hostility to the BMD radar base plan than previous samplings of Czech public opinion. The newspaper also noted that the survey was carried out before Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek held his first meeting with Tusk as head of the Polish government. The poll looks likely to increase pressure on Topolanek not to push ahead in cooperating with Washington to build the base. No margin of error was provided.

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