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The Patriot missile has been upgraded continually since it was first deployed in 1982, and variations include the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2), Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T), PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) and PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles.

The upgraded PAC-2 missile, originally used during the Gulf War, was a U.S. Army one-stage, solid-fuel, ground-launched interceptor designed to destroy tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, or aircraft with a conventional high-explosive blast fragmentation warhead.

The Patriot GEM-T variant of the PAC-2 allowed the interceptor to detect low radar signature targets more effectively and have better detonation near ballistic missiles.

The PAC-3 CRI variant increased interceptor effectiveness by employing hit-to-kill technology versus conventional blast fragmentation. The PAC-3 MSE provided further performance enhancements with greater speed and maneuverability with a larger dual-pulse solid rocket motor and larger tail fins. The PAC-3 MSE missile is the primary interceptor for the German next-generation air and missile defense system, Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem (TLVS).

Key Features

Combat proven during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the PAC-3 missile is a mobile, high-velocity interceptor with long-range, medium to high-altitude, all-weather capabilities that uses hit-to-kill technology to intercept a variety of incoming threats, such as tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.

PAC-3 family of interceptors provide tactical air and missile defense capabilities as part of the country’s missile defense architecture. In addition to their solid propellant rocket motors, the PAC-3 family of missiles are equipped with aerodynamic controls and inertial navigation guidance systems.

Our Role

In the 1990’s Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies company, first began providing the solid propulsion for ERINT (Extended Range Interceptor) which later became known as PAC-3. Today’s PAC-3 missiles are typically deployed in a Patriot M903 launcher which accommodates 16 PAC-3 or 12 PAC-3 MSE missiles.

Since 2000, Aerojet Rocketdyne has produced the PAC-3 CRI solid rocket motor, and since 2004 the small, short-duration solid propellant Attitude Control Motors (ACMs) for PAC-3 missile variants at its facility in Camden, Arkansas.

Each PAC-3 CRI interceptor contains 180 ACMs. The solid motors fire explosively to refine the missile's course and ensure body-to-body impact.

Aerojet Rocketdyne also produces the PAC-3 MSE propulsion system, a larger, advanced two-pulse solid rocket motor and the Lethality Enhancer (LE) for the upgraded PAC-3 MSE missile.


  • Premier Propulsion Provider for the U.S. Army Data Sheet

    Premier Propulsion Provider for the U.S. Army Data Sheet

  • PAC-3 MSE Propulsion Data Sheet Thumbnail

    PAC-3 MSE Propulsion Data Sheet

Featured News

Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Company

Press release | 07. 28. 2023

L3Harris Completes Aerojet Rocketdyne Acquisition

L3Harris Technologies has completed its acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne, forming a fourth business segment at the company.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Company

Press release | 07. 28. 2023

L3Harris Completes Aerojet Rocketdyne Acquisition

Aerojet Rocketdyne has delivered the 830,000th Attitude Control Motor for Patriot missile system variants (Photo credit: Lockheed Martin)

Press release | 02. 27. 2023

Aerojet Rocketdyne Delivers 830,000th Attitude Control Motor for Patriot Missile as Investments Enable 40% Increase in Production

New Aerojet Rocketdyne facility at the Camden, Arkansas, site consolidates solid rocket motor manufacturing to increase efficiency and capacity

Press release | 08. 09. 2022

New Aerojet Rocketdyne Facility Consolidates Solid Rocket Motor Manufacturing to Increase Efficiency and Capacity

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