Lockheed Martin's Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Block II Missile performed perfectly in a test at White Sands Missile Range, NM.
The missile was launched with a test payload of three fully tactical Brilliant Anti-Armor Technology (BAT) submunitions, three flight data recorders and seven BAT simulants. The cold-conditioned ATACMS Block II Missile flew a long range trajectory and dispensed the payload at the proper location. The government-furnished BATs, produced by Northrop Grumman, destroyed three selected target vehicles in a field of 20. Soldiers of the US Army's 6-3 FA participated in the firing.
As the Army continues to define the Unit of Employment 1 and 2, ATACMS will truly be the weapon system of choice to shape the battle space and provide troop protection. ATACMS is the Joint Commander's "24/7" weapon. Although air munitions are using INS/GPS guidance, they still have to be delivered by an air platform, such as ATACMS.
The ATACMS Block II missile has a range of more than 80 miles (128 km). The missile is being developed under a manufacturing development contract for the US Army ATACMS-BAT Project Office. The contract was initially awarded to Lockheed Martin in July 1995. An LIPR contract was awarded in June 1999.
ATACMS is fired from the MLRS family of launchers, including the original M270, the M270 IPDS, the M270A1 and the new High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers. The M270, M270-IPDS and M270A1 launchers can carry two ATACMS missiles or 12 MLRS rockets in a full load. HIMARS carries a single ATACMS missile, or six MLRS rockets, and is C-130 transportable.