ATACMS Block IA Unitary Completes First Guidance Upgrade Testing

Released on Thursday, October 7, 2004
United States of America
ATACMS Block IA Unitary
ATACMS - Army TACtical Missile System
GPS - Global Positioning System
HIMARS - High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
MLRS - Multiple Launch Rocket System
Lockheed-Martin Corporation has announced that its Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Block IA Unitary missile successfully completed the first of two flight tests intended to demonstrate a new upgraded guidance and control system as well as new flight software.

This test took place at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on September 30. All test objectives were met as planned. The new guidance package will allow a vertical impact trajectory and improve accuracy through the use of an improved Global Positioning System (GPS) capability. The second test is scheduled for the fourth quarter 2004.

The new guidance and control system will allow to fly over obstacles, such as mountainous terrain and/or buildings, and then dive vertically to precisely engage targets. In this first test, ATACMS Block IA Unitary utilized an angled descent. This angled descent attack profile is suitable for engagements in urban terrain, which are more common in modern warfare scenarios such as Iraq.

To date, Lockheed-Martin has manufactured more than 80 ATACMS Block IA Unitary missiles and is under contract to deliver around 200 additional missiles to the US Army. The improved guidance and control system will be incorporated into new production Block IA Unitary missiles beginning in early 2005.

The Block IA Unitary missile is the latest addition to ATACMS family of tactical ballistic munitions and was combat proven by joint US military services during operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The missile can engage high-payoff, time sensitive targets out to 300 kilometers with limited collateral damage thanks to the unitary burst warhead. It can be fired from both the M270A1 MLRS and the HIMARS Artillery Systems.


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