What is Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS)?

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What is Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS)? Blog Image


The United States recently confirmed providing long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine to aid its war effort against Russia.

About Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS):

  • ATACMS is a conventional surface-to-surface artillery weapon system capable of striking targets well beyond the range of existing Army cannons, rockets, and other missiles.
  • It is manufactured by the US defense company Lockheed Martin.
  • It is also designated M39 by the US Army, and its Department of Defence (DoD)designation is MGM-140.
  • The missile first saw use during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
  • This weapon's known operators other than the US are Bahrain, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Features:
    • ATACMS are 24/7, all-weather, surface-to-surface, inertially guided ballistic missiles.
    • It has a range of about 190 miles (305 km).
    • Propulsion: Single-stage, solid propellant.
    • ATACMS missiles are fired from the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) platforms. The MLRS can fire 12 surface-to-surface missiles in less than a minute.
    • It has the ability to carry cluster munitions, which destroy a targeted area by releasing hundreds of bomblets instead of a single warhead. 
    • Targets include air defense artillery sites, surface-to-surface missile units, logistics sites, command and control complexes, and helicopter forward operating bases.

Q1: What are Ballistic Missiles?

Ballistic missiles are powered initially by a rocket or series of rockets in stages, but then follow an unpowered trajectory that arches upwards before descending to reach its intended target. Ballistic missiles can carry either nuclear or conventional warheads.

Source: What is the Army Tactical Missile System, which the US has sent to Ukraine?