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Can the older missiles be updated?

I think not, the MSE is a bigger missile than the PAC-3. The M903 launcher can fit 16 PAC-3 but only 12 PAC-3 MSE. I suspect that the "PAC-3"-part in "PAC-3 MSE" is like the "F-18"-part in "F-18E".

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The PAC-2GEM has an ABM capability. The PAC-3 and MSE were also developed at a time where mid to long range SAMs were more focused on ABM and cruise missiles than the actual aircraft.


So what exactly does the MSE capitalize on?

Improved missile count? Because although you can indeed mount more missiles per launcher, the cost per missile is immense, and a different approach could be increasing the number of launchers instead.



Also, for some reason, people believe the PAC-3MSE has a small range. It is roughly the same size as a Stunner missile, if not somewhat larger in diameter, and it too has no conventional warhead.

Yet the Stunner is said to have a range of 160km, which is the same as said about the PAC-2GEM.

Anyone can organize this for me?

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PAC-3 MSE is a 'missile segment improvement' - ie, not at all the PAC-3 missile. Its a larger missile with a wider envelope than the orignal PAC-3 and like PAC-3 it is primarily an ABM weapon (I think you an use it against a plane as well, but that would probably be relegated to a launcher with PAC-2. So basically half way between PAC-2 and PAC-3 in that you have more weapons per launcher but shorter range. I suspect also since it is a newer weapon that it has some guidance and maneuverability improvements over the original PAC-3.


ETA: apparently 50% more range as well as larger control surfaces for greater maneuverability:

"Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade to the Patriot air defense system which will make the missile more agile and extend its range by up to 50%.[28] The PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade consists of the PAC-3 missile, a very agile hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 missile canisters (in four packs), a fire solution computer, and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES). The PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor increases altitude and range through a more powerful dual-pulse motor for added thrust, larger fins that collapse inside current launchers, and other structural modifications for more agility.[29] The U.S. Army accepted the first PAC-3 MSE interceptors on October 6, 2015,[30] and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was declared in August 2016.[31] The PAC-3 MSE is capable of intercepting longer-range theater ballistic missiles.[32]"



Edited by Josh
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There are a number of things that affect the range of similar sized missiles.


The most significant is what should be called "sales bullshit", or "marketing topperism".


Given that published range figures are simply Top Trumps figures to attract sales, you get all kinds of nonsense being reported as the range.


It has been stated (by a reliable source I know) that the AIM-9X published range figures might be achievable for a maximum performance supersonic launch from the highest flying US fighter platform, and represent the distance at which the furthest piece of wreckage might have reached when it hit the ground. There may be a hint of hyperbole there, of course. In contrast, a more useful maximum range might be defined by the target that you'd probably (say, 90%) hit given the max G that the target could apply in evasion, as well as their ability to run away.


Customers tend to have a certain target set in mind, ranging from hypersonic crossing targets to hovering helicopters. Clearly this will have a huge effect on the effective range - it can be an order of magnitude or more different.


In terms of real science that can affect range - propellant burn can be shaped to either burn very quickly for rapid response, or may be tailored in burn profile to provide lower acceleration but ultimately greater range. Trajectory shaping and fine details of aerodynamics can also have a significant effect, but may come at the cost of extending the engagement time.


Although in their relative infancy, reactive fragment warheads may offer a significant improvement in lethality over conventional HE Frag - this can reduce warhead size for the same end effect. this allows for more propellant, or higher acceleration from the same propellant, etc.


Improvements in electronics can also help - higher density packing in part due to improvements in CAD tools, as well as the obvious decrease in component sizes, leave more room for propellant.


The revolutionary thing that makes the single biggest difference is ramjet propulsion, like Meteor - that gives something like 3x the specific impulse of the equivalent rocket, so you get a lot more "bang" for your buck, all else being equal.

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