Lockheed Martin test of ATACMS missile system successful

By James LaPorta  |  Oct. 11, 2017 at 3:04 PM
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Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin conducted another successful launch of its Army Tactical Missile System or MGM 140 ATACMS Wednesday morning.

The company announced on Wednesday that a flight test of the ATACMS modernization, a surface-to-surface missile with a range of over 100 miles, was conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The flight was a system-level test conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Army's Precision Fires Rocket & Missile Systems, or PFRMS Program Management Office.

Other test objectives included the missile's performance range and accuracy from launch to impact, validating the interface with the HIMARS launcher, and testing system software performance.

"This was our seventh consecutive successful test in the ATACMS modernization program," Matt Berger, Precision Fires program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a press release. "ATACMS is extremely accurate, affordable and mission-flexible, and is a missile our war fighters can rely upon when performance is most needed."

The ATACMS was launched from a soldier-manned M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, launcher -- a warfare tool that has been used in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lockheed Martin officials said the ATACMS missile flew more than 86 miles and demonstrated a proximity sensor height-of-burst detonation over the target area, meaning the missile exploded in the air versus on contact with the ground or intended target.

"This is a new ATACMS feature that allows battlefield commanders to address imprecisely located or area targets," Lockheed officials said.

In August, Lockheed Martin's Missile and Fire Control was awarded a $161.4 million contract for the production of launch assemblies for the ATACMS.

The contract is part of the Service Life Extension Program for aging components of the missile system, and calls for the modernization of 150 missiles as part of the Army's ATACMS Service Life Extension Program. Work will be conducted at sites across the U.S. with an estimated completion date of Feb. 3, 2020.

"The modernization process disassembles and demilitarizes ATACMS Block 1 and 1A submunition warheads, replacing them with new unitary warheads and bringing them into compliance with Department of Defense policy on cluster munitions. The modernization process also resets the missile's 10+ year shelf life," according to Lockheed Martin officials.

ATACMS is the U.S. Army's only tactical long-range precision-strike surface-to-surface weapon system and can be operated in all weather conditions. Successful firing can be achieved from the entire family of Multiple Launch Rocket System launchers.

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