Lockheed Martin is readying to ramp up production of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement interceptors in 2022 with a new manufacturing line that -- when paired with beefed up supplier agreements -- will double the annual output of the new guided missiles.
Scott Arnold, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control’s integrated air and missile defense vice president, said a new PAC-3 MSE production line in Camden, AR, will be ready next year to support strong demand for the high velocity hit-to-kill, surface-to-air missile.
“We're increasing our production rate up to 500 missiles a year to keep up with the demand domestically and internationally,” Arnold told Inside Defense Oct. 13 during the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference. “We have customers that span from Europe through the Middle East over to the INDOPACOM region,” he said, referring to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
The Pentagon has previously approved the PAC-3 MSE for export to Bahrain, Germany, South Korea, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Norway, Morocco and Switzerland.
In April 2020, the Army awarded Lockheed a $6 billion, firm-fixed-price contract for incidental services, hardware, facilities, equipment and all technical, planning, management, manufacturing and testing efforts to produce PAC-3 MSE interceptors, associated ground support equipment and spares.
That contract included 954 PAC-3 MSE missiles to fulfill existing foreign military sales partner agreements and had option pricing to support 2021 to 2023 requirements and future foreign purchases, according to the Army.
Congress appropriated funds for the Army to buy 177 PAC-3 MSEs in FY-21 and the service is seeking funds to buy 180 in FY-22.
To support these orders above the Army’s requirement, Lockheed has been working to significantly increase the number of guided missiles it can crank out -- establishing the new facility in Arkansas.
“It is really doubling the production capacity,” Arnold said. The “original installed capacity” for PAC-3 was 240 missiles a year, he said.
“In Camden, we're actually building a new building to go to 500; that'll open next year,” he added. “But we also had to work through the entire supply chain to add capacity and so all the suppliers were put on contract going back over the last two years. And they're all going to be at that rate by next year.”
Last month, for example, Boeing announced it finalized an agreement with Lockheed for a $1.1 billion deal to supply seekers for future PAC-3 MSE production.
The Army approved the PAC-3 MSE -- which is capable of intercepting tactical ballistic missiles, air breathing threats, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial systems -- for full-rate production two years ago.
The Army program of record is a $15.5 billion program that calls for buying 3,100 PAC-3 MSEs through 2035.