Strategic Weapons: Air Launched Anti-Missile Missiles

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January
16, 2007:
The U.S. has configured Patriot PAC 3 anti-missile missiles to be
launched from F-15 fighters. This would enable missiles to be in position, over
a wider area, to intercept incoming ballistic missiles. The PAC 3 version of
the Patriot is lighter (700 pounds, versus 2000) than the anti-aircraft
version. PAC 3 also has a shorter range (20 kilometers versus 70). An F-15 can
move around a lot faster than the towed launchers that normally carry PAC 3
missiles. The PAC 3 fired from the air can also hit cruise missiles, or
ballistic missiles that were just launched, and are still climbing. Work is now
underway to adapt the 17 foot long PAC 3 to be launched from the F-16, F-22 and
F-35 aircraft as well.

 


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