WASHINGTON — A Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile — the latest variant of the Lockheed Martin-made PAC-3 — successfully intercepted a target Friday at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in its last test as part of a full series.

The final test of the Post Deployment Build Eight (PDB-8) test program also marks the first time the US Army has fired the MSE interceptor, according to a Lockheed spokesman. The unit is based out of Fort Bliss, Texas.

The missile was tested against a full-scale, air-breathing target and demonstrated the weapon's ability to "detect, track, engage and intercept an aircraft," according to a Lockheed statement.

"This test series has demonstrated the effectiveness of the PAC-3 MSE hit-to-kill interceptor against a wide range of targets, including air-breathing targets and ballistic missiles," said Scott Arnold, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "We're proud to deliver this overmatch capability to our war fighters."

The PAC-3 missile uses hit-to-kill technology and earlier variants are deployed in Patriot air and missile defense systems. The PAC-3 MSE will also be used in the Patriot system.

The MSE version has a larger, dual-pulse solid rocket motor and larger control fins, which "nearly double the missile's reach and dramatically improve performance against evolving ballistic- and cruise-missile threats," Lockheed said.

PAC-3 MSE had three successful tests late last year as well.

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