ATACMS Block IA Unitary
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: ATACMS Block IA Quick Reaction Unitary, ATACMS Block IA Unitary PIP, ATACMS QRU, M57, T2K and XM57
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) is a theater short range ballistic missile launched form the M270 MLRS and/or HIMARS artillery systems. It provides attack capability beyond the range of current howitzer and rocket systems. Each M270 artillery system can accommodate up to two Army TACMS missiles replacing 12 227mm rockets, six rockets per TACMS. TACMS is specially well suited to attack high payoff, time sensitive targets. The ATACMS ballistic missile was employed for the first time in 1991 during the Gulf War military campaign in Kuwait and Iraq. The US Army has great confidence in the TACMS family of tactical missiles which provide long range, precision attack against a wide range of targets.
The ATACMS Block IA Unitary is a derivative of the ATACMS Block IA tactical ballistic missile. The Unitary Block IA retains the guidance system and the maximum range of the Block IA but replaces the M74 submunitions by a 500-pound unitary warhead. This warhead reduces collateral damage likelihood while makes possible to attack hardened targets such as fortifications and bunkers deep inside enemy territory out to 300 kilometers. The Block IA Unitary missile was combat proven during operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
In October 2004, the ATACMS Block IA Unitary began a flight test demonstration with a new guidance and control package and new flight software at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Two tests were scheduled to demonstrate the new guidance system, the second test was expected in the fourth quarter 2004. The improved guidance system incorporating an improved GPS will allow a vertical impact trajectory and improved accuracy to precisely engage targets. The Block IA Unitary missile equipped with an improved guidance system will be capable of flying over obstacles, such as mountainous terrain and buildings, and then dive vertically to better engage its intended target. The angled descent feature is specially well suited to perform engagements in urban environments. The new guidance package will be available beginning in early 2005. As of October 2004, the US Army had received more than 80 such missiles with approximately 200 missiles more on order.
Lockheed-Martin received a $45 million contract for production of ATACMS Block IA Unitary missiles for the US Army on February 7, 2005. These missiles were the first equipped with new guidance, control and fuze systems. Delivery was scheduled for 2006. This weapon saw combat during Iraqi Freedom. The US Army also made public it was pursuing a new multi-mode warhead with three fuze options for the ATACMS with the development phase beginning in fiscal year 2006. Lockheed-Martin released on February 17, 2005, that the BROACH multi-stage blast/fragmentation and penetration warhead integrated into an ATACMS missile was sled tested at Pendine, Wales, UK, in February. This test was conducted to validate BROACH as a candidate payload for ATACMS Block IA Unitary missile. The test program was funded by the US Army, Lockheed-Martin and BAE Systems.
On 13 April, 2005, Lockheed-Martin successfully tested for the second time ATACMS Block IA Unitary with an upgraded guidance and control system and new flight software at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. This test validated the new upgraded components and software for 2005 production line of ATACMS Block IA Unitary. In July 2005, Lockheed-Martin was awarded a $79 million contract by the US Army for production of 106 ATACMS Block 1A Quick Reaction Unitary (QRU) missiles. These missiles feature new guidance, control and fuze systems qualified to provide limited collateral damage against high-payoff, time sensitive targets in urban and mountainous terrain. Deliveries were expected to commence in 2006 and complete in 2007. In March 2006 Lockheed Martin was awarded a $45.6 million contract by the US Army for delivery of ATACMS Block IA Unitary QRU in 2008. The number of missiles ordered by the Army was not disclosed.
In July 2006, Lockheed Martin received a new production order valued at $36 million for ATACMS Unitary Product Improvement missiles. The first flight of a Product Improvement missile was planned for January 2008. The improved missiles focuses on adding a multi-functional fuze/warhead system that is capable of executing air-burst, point detonate or delay missions. In October 2006, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $47 million contract for the purchase of ATACMS Block 1A Unitary missiles to be delivered in the second quarter of 2008.
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