Lockheed Secures $3.3b Deal to Deliver PAC-3 Missiles to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait


The US Department of Defense announced on December 21 that Lockheed Martin Corp. was given a $3.3 contract to produce Patriot PAC-3 missiles for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait by December 31, 2024.


Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Lockheed secures a 3.3b deal for PAC 3 missiles
PAC-3 MSE in succesful flight test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on February 17, 2010. (Picture source: Lockheed Martin )


The production, which should be completed within six years, will take place in Huntsville, Alabama; Camden, Arkansas; Ocala, Florida; Chelmsford, Massachusetts; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Lukin, Texas. 

End of September 2014, Saudi Arabia had already requested 202 PAC-3 missiles for an estimated cost of $1.75 billion, as officials stated that the proposed sale would help "replenish Saudi’s current Patriot missiles which are becoming obsolete and difficult to sustain due to age and the limited availability of repair parts."

The Kingdom later signed another contract in October 2015 for the purchase of another 320 PAC-3 missiles. The contract was thought to be part of a larger deal ($5.4 billion) approved by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in July 2015 for 600 PAC-3 missiles. Riki Ellison, founder of the non-profit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, declared that Saudi Arabia's need of missiles came as a result of Scud missile launches from Houthi rebels in Yemen and concerns about Iran.

As for Kuwait, it had closed a $4.2b deal – announced by the DSCA on July 20, 2012 – for 60 PAC-3 missiles.

PAC-3 missiles are high-velocity interceptors against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. Thirteen nations – the U.S., Germany, Kuwait, Japan, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Poland and Sweden – have chosen PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE (Missile Segment Enhancement) to provide missile defense capabilities.

The PAC-3 upgrade is significant as it affects nearly every aspect of the system. The system itself saw another upgrade of its WCC and its software, and the communication setup was given a complete overhaul.

The PAC-3 enhancement came with a new missile design, known as MIM-104F and called PAC-3 by the US Army. The PAC-3 missile evolved from the Strategic Defense Initiative's ERINT missile, and it is therefore dedicated almost entirely to the anti-ballistic missile mission.

The upgraded PAC-3 MSE expands the lethal battlespace with a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, providing increased performance in altitude and range. PAC-3 MSE is a high-velocity interceptor against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. The missile uses Hit-to-Kill technology, which engages threats through kinetic energy via body-to-body contact.

"PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE give our customers unmatched, combat-proven hit-to-kill technology to address growing and evolving threats," Jay Pitman, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, commented. "PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE are proven, trusted and reliable interceptors that employ hit-to-kill accuracy, lethality and enhanced safety to address dangers around the world."


 

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