The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is fielded with the
US Army as a deep strike precision weapon, capable of engaging
time critical targets at high precision under all weather conditions.
The missile is deployed from the Multiple Launch Rocket System
(MLRS) family of launchers, including the MLRS M270A1 launcher
and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher.
The US Army fired over 100 ATACMS missiles in Iraq, since Operation
Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Most missiles were expended against air
defense targets and C4ISR nodes. Even against a sophisticated
enemy, equipped with early warning capabilities, ATACMS can
maintain an element of surprise, due to its capability to launch
attacks off axis. ( shaping the ballistic trajectory to 'hide'
the objective and target it is aimed at).
The Army Tactical Missile System
(ATACMS)'s Universal Dispenser is capable of delivering various
types submunitions from a single dispenser foundation. These
systems include radial, aft and spinning dispense in single,
staggered and multiple dispense options at subsonic and supersonic
velocities. Missiles and Fire Control has extensive experience
dispensing Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM),
Anti-Personnel/Anti-Materiel (APAM), Sense and Destroy Armor
(SADARM) and Northrop Grumman's Brilliant Anti-Armor (BAT)
submunitions in subsonic and supersonic dispense environments.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has studied several
candidate submunitions for the Universal Dispenser. These include
the Low Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS),
SADARM, BAT, Wide-Area Munition (WAM), SMArt155 and BLU-108.
In the four-quadrant configuration, the Universal Dispenser
can carry four LOCAAS submunitions, 32 SADARMs or skeet warheads
(BLU-108), eight BATs or 16 WAM submunitions. Integration of
alternate submunitions, both domestic and foreign, will provide
future growth opportunities for the ATACMS Universal Dispenser.
1A Unitary Missile warhead is the latest addition to the ATACMS
family of munitions. This variant is designed to launch precision
attack under all weather conditions, from ranges of 300 kilometers.
The missile has a unique "vertical impact" capability,
designed to improve penetration and optimize fragmentation coverage
while reducing collateral damage. In October
2006 the US Army ordered a first batch of Block 1A Unitary
Warhead missiles to replenish its tactical missile stocks, under
US$47 million contract awarded to Lockheed Martin.
An enhanced version of Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS)
specially designed for deep penetration strikes is also underway.
This weapon will be optimized for the attack of deeply buried
targets, such as command posts and weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) storage caches. The two-stage weapon, developed by the
U.S. Navy will utilize exoatmospheric transition to augment
speed. Despite the devastation it creates underground, the weapon's
effect will be localized to around 328 ft (100 m') from the