WASHINGTON — The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhanced missile has had its third successful intercept of a target since November, Lockheed Martin announced today Thursday.

A PAC-3 MSE missile engaged and hit a tactical ballistic missile target at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, today on Dec. 10.

The missile is the Army's newest version of the PAC-3 missile used in the Raytheon-made Patriot air and missile defense system.

Previous intercepts happened occurred on Nov. 12 and Nov. 19, also at White Stands.

A PAC-3 interceptor took out an airborne target in a flight test that was part of the Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) test. Northrop Grumman is the prime manufacturer of the IBCS, the brains of Army's future missile defense system, and is expected to reach initial operational capability in fiscal 2019.

On Nov. 19, a PAC-3 MSE intercepted a Patriot-as-a-Target (PAAT), which is a legacy Patriot missile modified to represent a modern tactical ballistic missile.

In Thursday's test, two PAC-3 MSE missiles were launched in the Army-led test, with the first intercepting the target, according to Lockheed.

The test today "is another strong demonstration of the PAC-3 MSE interceptor's proven reliability and advanced capability," Scott Arnold, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said. "With enhanced capability and range, we anticipate these innovative interceptors will play an increasingly critical role in defending against evolving missile threats around the globe."

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Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.