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MGM-140 ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System)
An ATACMS being launched by an M270
TypeRocket artillery and tactical ballistic missile
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1991–present[1]
Used by
  • United States
  • South Korea
  • Greece
  • Turkey
WarsPersian Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War
Production history
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
No. built3,700[2][3]
Specifications ([5][6])
Mass3,690 pounds (1,670 kg)
Length13 feet (4.0 m)
Diameter24 inches (610 mm)

Maximum firing range190 mi (300 km)

Wingspan55 inches (1.4 m)
Flight ceiling160,000 ft (50 km)[4]
Maximum speed In excess of Mach 3 (0.6 mi/s; 1.0 km/s)[4]
GPS-aided inertial navigation guidance

The MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is a surface-to-surface missile (SSM) manufactured by the U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin. It has a range of up to 190 miles (310 km),[7] with solid propellant, and is 13 feet (4.0 m) high and 24 inches (610 mm) in diameter.

The ATACMS can be fired from multiple rocket launchers, including the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). An ATACMS launch container has a lid patterned with six circles like a standard MLRS rocket lid.


The concept of a conventional tactical ballistic missile was made possible by the doctrinal shift of the late Cold War, which rejected the indispensability of an early nuclear strike on the Warsaw Pact forces in case of a war with it.[8]

The AirLand Battle and Follow-on Forces Attack [de] doctrines, which were emerging in late 1970s and early 1980s, necessitated a conventional-armed (and thus much more accurate) missile to strike enemy reserves, so the US Army Missile Command sponsored the Simplified Inertial Guidance Demonstrator (SIG-D) program.[8] Within this program Ling-Temco-Vought developed a solid-fuel analog of MGM-52 Lance designated T-22,[9] with a brand new RLG-based inertial guidance package which demonstrated unprecedented accuracy.[8]

In 1978, DARPA started the Assault Breaker technology demonstration program to attack armor formations with many mobile hard targets at standoff ranges. It utilized the T-22 missile and also the Patriot-based Martin Marietta T-16 missile with cluster warheads.

Development of the missile now known as ATACMS started in 1980, when USAF decided to replace Lance with a similar nuclear (but also chemical or biological) tipped solid-fuel missile dubbed the Corps Support Weapon System (CSWS). Worried that two branches are developing too many similar missiles with different warheads, the Department of Defense united that program with Army's Assault Breaker in 1981, and with USAF's Conventional Standoff Weapon (CSW) in 1982-1983. The new missile system, designated JTACMS, soon ran into the aversion of the USAF to the idea of an air-launched ballistic missile, and as a result, in the next year the branch ended its participation in the non-cruise missile portion of the program, hence the modern designation.

In March 1986, the contract for the missile design was won by LTV. The system was assigned the MGM-140 designation. The first test launch came only two years later, thanks to earlier experience of the company with previous programs.

The first use of the ATACMS in a combat capability was during the Persian Gulf War's Operation Desert Storm, where a total of 32 were fired from the M270 MLRS.[10] During the Iraq War's Operation Iraqi Freedom more than 450 missiles were fired.[11] As of early 2015, over 560 ATACMS missiles had been fired in combat.[2][3]


MGM-140A – Block I

Previously M39,[12] INS guided missile contains 950 M74 anti-personnel/anti-materiel (APAM) submunitions (4.275 kg) with a range of 80 miles (128 km).[13][14]

MGM-140B – Block IA

Previously M39A1,[12] missile adds GPS guidance, carries 275 M74 submunitions and has a 103 miles (165 km) range.[13][14]

MGM-164 ATACMS – Block II

A Block II variant (initially designated MGM-140C or, previously, M39A3[12]) was designed to carry a payload of 13 Brilliant Anti-Tank munitions manufactured by Northrop Grumman. However, in late 2003 the U.S. Army terminated the funding for the BAT-equipped ATACMS and therefore the MGM-164A never became fully operational.[15]

MGM-168 ATACMS – Block IVA

Originally designated Block IA Unitary (MGM-140E), the new Block IVA variant substitutes a 500 pounds (230 kg) unitary HE warhead for M74 bomblets. It uses the same GPS/INS guidance as the MGM-140B. The development contract was placed in December 2000, and flight-testing began in April 2001. The first production contract was awarded in March 2002.[16] The range has been increased to some 190 miles (300 km), limited more by the political considerations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) than technical considerations.


In 2007, the Army terminated the ATACMS program due to cost, ending the ability to replenish stocks. To sustain the remaining inventory, the ATACMS Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) was launched, which refurbishes or replaces propulsion and navigation systems, replaces cluster munition warheads with the unitary blast fragmentation warhead, and adds a proximity fuze option to obtain area effects; deliveries are projected to start in 2018. The ATACMS SLEP is a bridging initiative to provide time to complete analysis and development of a successor capability to the aging ATACMS stockpile, which could be ready around 2022.[17]

In January 2015, Lockheed Martin received a contract to develop and test new hardware for Block I ATACMS missiles to eliminate the risk of unexploded ordnance by 2016.[2][3] The first modernized Tactical Missile System (TACMS) was delivered on 28 September 2016 with updated guidance electronics and added capability to defeat area targets using a unitary warhead without leaving behind unexploded ordnance.[18][19] Lockheed was awarded a production contract for launch assemblies as part of the SLEP on 2 August 2017.[20]

In October 2016, it was revealed that the ATACMS would be upgraded with an existing seeker to enable it to strike moving targets on land and at sea,[21] but that plan was terminated in December 2020 to pursue other missile efforts.[22]

Precision Strike Missile

In March 2016, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon announced they would offer a missile to meet the U.S. Army's Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) requirement to replace the ATACMS. The missile will use advanced propulsion to fly faster and farther (originally out to 310 miles (500 km))[23] while also being thinner and sleeker, increasing loadout to two per pod, doubling the number able to be carried by M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS launchers.[24][25] Lockheed and Raytheon will test-fire their submissions for the renamed Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program in 2019, with the selected weapon planned to achieve Initial Operational Capability in 2023; the initial PrSM will only be able to hit stationary targets on land, but later versions will track moving targets on land and sea.[26] With the United States withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the range of the PrSM will be increased beyond the '499 km' limitation previously placed upon it by the treaty.[27]

After entering service in 2023, the Spiral One upgrade will incorporate a multi-mode seeker in 2025 with the ability to home in on radio-frequency emissions from land and ship radars and an infrared imaging mode to strike precise points. Spiral Two will focus on enhanced lethality and Spiral Three will increase missile range to 700–800 km (430–500 mi).[28]

In July 2021, the US announced that Australia had become a partner in the PrSM Program with the Australian Army signing a Memorandum of Understanding for Increment 2 of the program with the US Army’s Defense Exports and Cooperation and had contributed US$54 million.[29][30]


Map with MGM-140 operators in blue
Map with MGM-140 operators in blue

Current operators

Future operators

Cancelled orders

  •  Finland: Finnish order of 70 missiles was cancelled March 2014[41]

See also

Comparable missiles


  1. ^ "MGM-140 ATACMS". Military Today. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c U.S. army awards Lockheed Martin $78 million contract for ATACMS guided missile modernization Archived 2015-01-17 at the Wayback Machine -, 8 January 2015
  3. ^ a b c Lockheed Martin Tactical Missile System Upgrades Archived 2015-01-17 at the Wayback Machine -, 8 January 2015
  4. ^ a b Third Offset Breakthrough: U.S. Army Using Existing Technology to Develop 'Warship-Killer' Missiles -, 2 November 2016
  5. ^ (PDF). 30 July 2013 Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "Lockheed Martin MGM-140 ATACMS". 2006-09-19. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  7. ^ "Army Tactical Missile System Block IA Unitary". Lockheed Martin. 2021-03-25. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  8. ^ a b c and following
  9. ^ "T-22 (SIG-D, Assault Bereaker) SRBM".
  10. ^ [Source, DoD, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, April 1992, p. 753.]
  11. ^ "Lockheed Martin - Army Tactical Missile System" (PDF). Lockheed Martin. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-27.
  12. ^ a b c "MGM-140/-164/-168 ATACMS (M39) (United States), Offensive weapons". Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems. Jane's Information Group. Oct 27, 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  13. ^ a b South Korea Goes Long –, October 12, 2012
  14. ^ a b "Lockheed Martin (LTV) MGM-140 ATACMS". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Lockheed Martin MGM-164 ATACMS II". Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Lockheed Martin MGM-168 ATACMS IVA". Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  17. ^ Capabilities Development for Long Range Precision Fires Archived 2015-03-21 at the Wayback Machine -, 16 May 2014
  18. ^ Lockheed Martin Delivers First Modernized TACMS Missile to US Army -, 29 September 2016
  19. ^ Precision fires milestone for US Army -, 18 October 2016
  20. ^ Lockheed Martin contracted to provide new launch system for the ATACMS missile -, 4 August 2017
  21. ^ Carter, Roper Unveil Army’s New Ship-Killer Missile: ATACMS Upgrade -, 28 October 2016
  22. ^ Cross-domain Army tactical missile terminated in FY21 defense spending bill. Defense News. 24 December 2020.
  23. ^ Freedberg Jr., Sydney J. (26 April 2016). "Winning The Missile Wars: Army & Navy Tech In HASC NDAA". Breaking Media, Inc. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  24. ^ Raytheon to offer new missile design for US Army's Long-Range Precision Fires requirement -, 17 March 2016
  25. ^ Raytheon to help Army develop new long-range artillery rocket for battlefield fire-support -, 16 March 2016
  26. ^ Army Will Field 100 Km Cannon, 500 Km Missiles: LRPF CFT. Breaking Defense. 23 March 2018.
  27. ^ Army to Extend Range of Precision Strike Missile. National Defense Magazine. 16 October 2019.
  28. ^ Army Tests PrSM Seeker To Hunt Ships & SAMs. Breaking Defense. 4 June 2020.
  29. ^ Vandermaarel, Cathy (28 July 2021). "US and Australian Defense Departments to partner on precision fires". Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation (Press release). Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  30. ^ Defence Minister Peter Dutton (12 August 2021). "Australia and US partner to spearhead precision strike missile capability". Department of Defence Ministers (Press release). Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  31. ^ "Bahrain Purchases Lockheed Martin's ATACMS Missiles". Lockheed Martin. 20 December 2000. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
  32. ^ "Worldwide Ballistic Missile Inventories | Arms Control Association". Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  33. ^ "Greece". Lockheed Martin. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  34. ^ "ROK: Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS)". Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  35. ^ "Turkey will join USA in fielding Army Tactical Missile System". Flight Global. 6 November 1996.
  36. ^ "Lockheed Martin Successfully Validates ATACMS Missile Long-Term Reliability". Lockheed Martin. 26 February 2009. Archived from the original on 13 December 2010.
  37. ^ "MGM-140A Block 1". Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  38. ^ "Contracts for June 24, 2019". US Department of Defense. 24 June 2019.
  39. ^ "Contracts for June 24, 2019". US Department of Defense. 24 June 2019.
  40. ^ "Contracts for October 21, 2020". Defense Security Cooperation Agency. 21 October 2020.
  41. ^ "Long Reach: Finlands Long-Range Rocket Launchers". Retrieved 5 April 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 30 December 2021, at 01:53
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