Air Defense: Air Launched Patriot PAC-3


April 9, 2009: The U.S. Department of Defense is spending $137 million to develop an air launched version of the Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile missile. The $3.3 million PAC 3 has a shorter range (about 20 kilometers) than the 70 kilometers for the PAC 2 anti-aircraft version. A PAC 2 missile weighs about a ton, a PAC 3 weighs about a third of that. The PAC-3 is 17 feet (5.2m) long and 25cm (10 inches) in diameter. At 700 pounds, it is smaller than some of the bombs usually carried by fighter bombers. The flight control software will be modified for launch from F-15 fighters, and attachments designed so the PAC-3, inside a canister, can be hung from the fuselage of the F-15, where a fuel tank usually is, and fired by the pilot.

Launched from the air, the PAC-3 would have a longer range, and be able to knock down ballistic missiles during their launch phase (before they left the atmosphere, turned, and plummeted back to their target below.) The air launched PAC-3 would also be useful against cruise missiles. The air launched PAC-3 should be ready for service within three years.


Article Archive

Air Defense: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close