Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS)

Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS)


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


  1. Definition: ATACMS is a conventional surface-to-surface artillery weapon system that can strike targets well beyond the range of existing Army cannons, rockets, and other missiles.
  2. Manufacturer: ATACMS is manufactured by the US defense company Lockheed Martin.
  3. Designations: The US Army designates it as M39, while the Department of Defense (DoD) designation is MGM-140.
  4. First Use: The missile first saw use during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
  5. Known Operators: In addition to the US, other countries that operate ATACMS include Bahrain, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Features of ATACMS:

  1. 24/7 All-Weather Capability: ATACMS are surface-to-surface, inertially guided ballistic missiles capable of operating around the clock in all weather conditions.
  2. Range: ATACMS has a range of approximately 190 miles (305 kilometers).
  3. Propulsion: ATACMS missiles are powered by a single-stage, solid propellant.
  4. Launch Platforms: 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.
  5. Payload: ATACMS missiles can carry cluster munitions, designed to destroy a targeted area by releasing hundreds of bomblets instead of a single warhead.
  6. Targets: ATACMS missiles are capable of engaging various targets, including air defense artillery sites, surface-to-surface missile units, logistics sites, command and control complexes, and helicopter forward operating bases.

Q: What are Ballistic Missiles?

  1. Ballistic missiles are rocket-propelled, self-guided weapon systems that can carry conventional or nuclear munitions.
  2. They are launched directly into the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere and can travel outside the atmosphere, where the warhead separates from the missile and falls toward a predetermined target.
  3. Ballistic missiles can be launched from aircraft, ships, submarines, and land.

Q: What is a Cruise Missile?

  1. A cruise missile is a self-propelled, unmanned guided vehicle that uses aerodynamic lift to sustain flight for most of its path.
  2. Its main purpose is to deliver a payload to a target with high precision over long distances.
  3. Cruise missiles can be launched from many ground, air, sea, and submarine platforms.
  4. They fly at low altitudes and stay within the Earth's atmosphere throughout their trajectory.
  1. Most cruise missiles are subsonic and use turbofan and turbojet engines.
  2. Supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles use ramjet and scramjet engines.
  3. Hypersonic missiles are weapons systems that fly at least at the speed of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

Some of the best cruise missiles in service with various nations include:

  1. Tomahawk: Known for its long-range capabilities, accuracy, and versatility

  2. BrahMos: A joint venture between India and Russia, this is the fastest cruise missile in world in operation

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