PAC-3 Air-Launched Hit-to-Kill (ALHTK)
On January 16th, 2007 Lockheed Martin received a $3 million contract from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to continue the Air-Launched Hit-to-Kill (ALHTK) initiative, which would enable fighter aircraft to carry and launch Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missiles to intercept hostile ballistic and cruise missiles. Equipping a fighter jet with a PAC-3 Missile defense capability would provide Combat Air Patrols or scrambled aircraft the potential ability to defeat cruise missiles and intercept ballistic missiles in their boost phase
Envisioned to protect the homeland from missile threats, ALHTK could also defend deployed forces. A risk assessment contract that concluded in April 2006 identified the feasibility of pursuing this high-payoff concept. The new Risk Reduction/Concept Definition Program will refine the risk, and further define the concept and expected system performance.
This study matures the concept of operations for launching the hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile from tactical fighter aircraft and prepares us for the next phase, a proposed system demonstration of the capability. Equipping fighter jets with PAC-3 Missiles would provide Combat Air Patrols or scrambled aircraft the ability to defeat cruise missiles and intercept ballistic missiles in asymmetric defense and boost phase applications. Although cruise missile defense capabilities are inherent with this concept, this MDA contract will focus on ALHTK capabilities against ballistic missiles.
The initial operational concept would fit in with North American Air Defense operational architecture, fielded at first on F-15C fighter aircraft. Future spiral development plans may aim to equip other aircraft with the capability.
In addition to MDA's funding of the Air Launched Hit-to-Kill effort, the agency has advanced a $2 million proposal for Lockheed Martin to build an Infrared Search and Tracking System (IRSTS), which would be used with the Air Launched Hit-to-Kill technology. The agency has requested the funding via the director of defense research and engineering's Quick Reaction Special Projects program.
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