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PAC-3 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE)

The PAC-3 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) began in 2002. The two major objectives of the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) were: (1) To assess the improvements in system performance provided by modifications in terms of operational effectiveness, suitability, and survivability; (2) to verify that modifications do not degrade the existing capabilities. The Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) will be the first operational integration and assessment of the complete Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Configuration 3 system.

The 2nd Battalion 43rd Air Defense Artillery/108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade served as the test unit for the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE). The unit is equipped with the complete package of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Configuration 3 hardware, PDB-5+ software and the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile. The Patriot Project Office has issued the upgraded equipment to 2-43 Air Defense Artillery. 2-43 had completed New Equipment Training (NET) and supported testing necessary to obtain material release of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missile equipment.

The Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) was conducted in four phases: (1) The Sustained Operations Phase was a five-day deployment to McGregor Range using approved tactics and doctrine. 2-43 Air Defense Artillery defended against live aircraft in accordance with threat test support package in a simulated combat environment; (2) The Interoperability Phase was a six-day demonstration of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interoperability with current Army and Joint Theater Missile Defense Systems. This phase was conducted using the Joint Common Simulated Missile Defense System Exerciser or actual tactical equipment; (3) The Flight Mission Simulator (FMS) Phase was a 22-day test of simulated air battles. The mobile Flight Mission Simulator (FMS) is a Patriot missile system simulation used to stimulate and evaluate radar performance, engagement decision and weapon assignment (EDWA) processing and test the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3)'s capabilities against a full spectrum of threat targets; (4) The Missile Flight Test Phase consisted of four live missile tests conducted at White Sands Missile Range and Kwajalein Missile Range. The PAC3 program has had to complete only 4 Operational Tests due to the extensive Developmental Test and M&S capabilities developed.

Four PAC-3 operational tests [some involving more than one interceptor launch] between February 2002 and May 2002 resulted in three launch failures, two misses and one hit that failed to destroy the incoming warhead. A malfunctioning radar and software problems led to the misses, and the launch failures resulted from electrical problems.

  1. The first test conducted in the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) program, OT/DT-3, conducted Feb. 16, 2002, involved one PAC-3 missile fired against a subscale drone configured as a cruise missile and two PAC-2 missiles, one fired against a full-scale QF-4 Phantom jet drone and the other against a subscale drone aircraft. One PAC-2 missile intercepted and destroyed the full-scale drone, while the other two missiles missed their targets. The PAC-3 missile engaged but failed to intercept its intended target due to an inaccurate cue from the missile's ground system computer. This anomaly is under investigation. The PAC-2 missile engaged but failed to intercept its intended target as a result of a ground system radar fault that occurred during the last critical second of the missile engagement. The radar was able to recover and enabled the other PAC-2 missile engagement against the QF4 to be successful.
  2. The second test in the IOT&E program, OT/DT-1, included both operational and developmental objectives and was conducted March 21, 2002. It involved a PAC-3 missile fired against a Hera target and a simultaneous engagement of an MQM-107 sub-scale drone by a PAC-2 missile. Both targets were intercepted and destroyed. The PAC-3 engagement was intended as a tactical ripple engagement using two PAC-3 missiles, but the second PAC-3 missile was not launched when the PAC-3 launcher lost power during launch sequence. The cause of the generator power loss is under investigation.
  3. The third test in the IOT&E program, OT/DT-4, was conducted April 25, 2002. It involved two PAC-3 missiles that were to be fired against a Storm II ballistic missile target and a PATRIOT as a Target (PAAT). Because one missile failed to fire, there was no PAC-3 available to engage the Storm II target. Preliminary analysis indicated the seeker experienced a reset during transition to internal battery power and was unable to report Built-in-Test (BIT) status to the guidance processor unit in a timely manner. The missile and individual components were tested to determine the root cause of the launch sequence failure. Another PAC-3 made contact with the PAAT but did not destroy the warhead. For this reason, it was not considered a successful intercept. Tactical doctrine is to fire two missiles at each incoming TBM target. Because of range constraints, the test plan called for only one missile to be available to fire at each target.
  4. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Army conducted an operational test of the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands on Thursday, May 30 (May 29 in the continental US). This was the fourth operational flight test planned during Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) for the PAC-3 system. Preliminary information indicates that a PAC-3 successfully intercepted the threat-representative ballistic missile target. The test, designated OT-2, was designed to employ the tactical firing doctrine of ripple-firing two PAC-3 missiles against a single two-stage ballistic missile threat. The target was made from modified Minuteman motors with a separating reentry vehicle. This test was planned to demonstrate the system's ability to properly classify the high-velocity, low-radar-signature target as a tactical ballistic missile (TBM), discriminate between the reentry vehicle and debris, and to destroy the target. While the PAC-3 intercepted the target, not all test objectives were met. The second PAC-3 missile failed to launch.

The Air Defense Artillery Directorate of the Operational Test Command conducted the planning and execution of the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE). Once Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) was complete, the Army Evaluation Center prepared the system evaluation report. This report provides input for the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile Milestone III decision (full rate production) and the materiel release for the complete Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) system.

The PAC-3 system successfully completed operational testing and began fielding in 2002. It was first used in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.




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