The United States Army has recently awarded a multi-billion dollar contract to Lockheed Martin, one of the largest defense contractors in the country.

According to the Department of Defense (DoD), the $2.4 billion agreement includes the funds to sustain the production of the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles, which are part of the Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept on Target (PATRIOT) surface-to-air missile defense system.

The contract will also include provisions for supporting foreign military sales to allied nations, such as Ukraine, affected by war since the Russian invasion in February last year. The production and delivery of the PAC-3 missiles to the Army are expected to be completed by December 2029,  per Lockheed Martin’s schedule.


Lockheed Martin is among the defense contractors who worked on developing the PATRIOT, a long-range, all-altitude air defense system capable of intercepting various airborne threats, including hostile aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles.

The conceptualization of the PATRIOT missile system began around the 1960s when the US Army started exploring surface-to-air missiles for air defense. It has undergone various upgrades and improvements over the years, adapting to address the increasing threat of ballistic missiles. It notably rose to prominence during the Gulf War in the 1990s, particularly in intercepting Scud missiles fired by Iraq.

PAC-3 is the most advanced configuration missile, known for its high-velocity, hit-to-kill approach capabilities. It features a sophisticated radar seeker capable of engaging targets even at low altitudes, thus making it highly effective against airborne threats.

Furthermore, it uses a solid-fueled rocket engine that propels it up to Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, and destroys its target as far as 40 kilometers (25 miles). That’s twice more than the PAC-2 missile configuration.

Aside from the range, another key feature of the PAC-3 missile is its agility and maneuverability. It is proficient at making rapid course adjustments to intercept highly evasive targets. Additionally, its proximity fuse ramps up the chance of a successful intercept capable of detonating its warhead in close proximity to the target.