January 26, 2009, Dallas, Texas -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] successfully proved the interoperability of the U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile with British M270B1 launchers in a recent test at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The flawless test provided the members of the British military and U.K. Defence Equipment & Support delegation a close look at ATACMS as they work to further determine their artillery system requirements.
M270B1 is the designation for the U.K.’s Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launcher, which has been in use with U.K. Forces since the early 1990s. The current M270B1 allows the firing of all MLRS rocket munitions, but not ATACMS, which is not fielded by the U.K. This test proved that with a simple system upgrade, the M270B1 can broaden its MLRS-based capabilities to include ATACMS.
“The ATACMS firing was a great success demonstrating the profound reach and precision that this missile brings,” said Mark Bunyan – U.K. Army Artillery Systems team leader.
The test used an ATACMS Unitary variant to destroy a target 130 kilometers away. The operation met all mission objectives, which included:
• Demonstrating the missile – U.K. launcher interface;
• Validating missile performance and accuracy;
• Proving performance of system software; and
• Obtaining performance, technical and reliability data.
“Lockheed Martin works hard to meet the needs of our customers,” said Scott Arnold, vice president for Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We welcome the opportunity to strengthen customer capability with the full range of the MLRS family of munitions.”
In addition to the U.S., ATACMS is fielded in Bahrain, Greece, South Korea and Turkey.
During Operation Desert Storm, ATACMS became the first tactical surface-to-surface missile ever fired in combat by the U.S. Army. ATACMS is a combat-proven evolutionary family of missiles that also scored numerous successes again in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, where over 540 ATACMS missiles have been fired in the Global War on Terror with a reliability rating of over 98 percent.
Last year, as the system continued to evolve, an ATACMS Unitary missile was first fired from a HIMARS launcher equipped with a Universal Fire Control System. This evolutionary block upgrade and technology refresh of the MLRS Fire Control System resulted in a successful test, with a target destroyed approximately 75 kilometers away.
ATACMS is the world’s premier long-range missile artillery round designed specifically for destroying high-priority targets at ranges up to 300 kilometers. Successfully employed in both urban and non-urban environments, it is able to deliver a wide variety of warhead options. Moreover, it can operate in all climate and light conditions while remaining beyond the range of most conventional weapons. Each ATACMS missile is packaged in a MLRS launch pod and is fired from the MLRS Family of Launchers. The M270 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. (Lockheedmartin.com)
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