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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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.