Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP)
The Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS)
Family of Munitions (AFOM)

Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP)
The Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS)
Family of Munitions (AFOM)


Overview. The AFOM variants provide the U.S. Army with long range, all weather, day and night, missile systems. The AFOM is designed to defeat high payoff targets (HPTs) at operational depths. Figure 1-1 depicts the progression of the AFOM variants. Currently, the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Family of Munitions (AFOM) can defeat enemy targets out to ranges in excess of three hundred kilometers. New submunitions are under development to improve the system’s effectiveness against stationary and moving hard targets.

The Army is improving launchers, command and control systems, fire support facilities at all echelons, employment procedures, and deep attack operations doctrine to enhance the system’s effectiveness. Generally, only corps MLRS battalions assigned a mission of general support (GS) or general support reinforcing (GSR) will fire the AFOM. The inherent responsibilities of the standard tactical missions do not change with the AFOM fielding.

Throughout the text, the AFOM will be referred to by its block number variant (e.g., Block I, IA, II, IIA).

Each AFOM variant addresses a specific mission need. Block I and Block IA are most effective when employed against soft, stationary targets that are lightly protected. They are not suited for attack of moving targets or stationary armored combat vehicle (ACV) targets such as tanks. They engage the same target sets and differ primarily in range and payload. Block IA achieves nearly double the Block I range because of its lighter payload, but retains lethality due to its increased Global Positioning System (GPS) accuracy.

Figure 1-1. AFOM Variants

The Block II missile with 13 Brilliant Anti-armor submunitions or BATs is used to attack moving Armored Combat Vehicle (ACV) formations. All Block II missiles manufactured after the year 2003 will carry 13 Pre-Planned Product Improvement (P3I) BATs which can attack hard or soft, moving or cold stationary targets. The Block IIA missile (with 6 P3I BAT submunitions) can attack moving and stationary high payoff targets such as Surface to Surface Missile (SSM) Transporter Erector Launchers (TELs) at extended ranges. Table 1-1 provides a summary of the AFOM's characteristics. This TTP only addresses the employment of Block II with basic BAT submunition since the P3I BAT submunition is not fully developed.

Table 1-1. AFOM Characteristics (present and future munitions)


RANGE (km)



Block I



950 Anti-Personnel Anti-Materiel (APAM) Personnel, and/or light materiel (stationary)

Block IA



300 Anti-Personnel Anti-Materiel (APAM) Personnel, and/or light materiel (stationary)

Block II

M39E3 (BAT)


13 Brilliant Anti-armor submunitions (BAT) Moving ACVs

Block II

M39E4 (P3I BAT)




13 P3I BAT submunitions

Moving/Stationary ACVs, SP Artillery, SSM TEL, SRBM, Med & Hvy MRL, Armor & Mech Assy Areas.


Block IIA





6 P3I BAT submunition

Moving or stationary ACVs, selected high payoff targets (HPTs), SP Artillery, SSM TEL, SRBM, Med & Hvy MRL, Armor & Mech Assy Areas



Any M270 launcher can fire Block I missiles. Block IA, II, and IIA missiles require either an M270 launcher modified with the Improved Position Determining System (IPDS) or the M270A1 launcher. The IPDS and M270A1 launchers provide the missiles with GPS information which improves system accuracy.

Guided Missile Launching Assembly (GMLA)

The AFOM GMLA consists of the missile and an Enclosure Assembly Launch Pod (EALP) which protects the missile during transport and firing. The EALP is a controlled breathing type container with desiccant for humidity control. The height, width, length, and other EALP features are similar to the Launch Pod Container (LPC) of the basic MLRS rocket. The EALP structure consists of aluminum sheet metal and extrusions. It has plastic camouflage panels fitted to the external surface to make the GMLA visually similar to the rocket LPC from distances of 100 meters and greater. During firing, the forward and aft plastic covers are designed to fracture and blow away as the missile builds up thrust and exits the container.

Training Rounds

There are no live fire training missiles for the AFOM. All missiles are reserved for testing or wartime use. The trainer pod, originally fielded with MLRS, has been modified to support AFOM training (except the launch sequence). Also, there are explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainers to facilitate training of EOD personnel.

Propulsion Section

All AFOM missiles have a solid propellant motor which launches the missile and sustains its flight. It consists of a motor case, propellant, insulation/liner, nozzle, and igniter arm/fire assembly.

Control Section Assembly

The control section assembly positions the missile fins and provides electrical power while in flight. This assembly consists of a control actuation set, electronics and batteries, four fin assemblies, an electrical harness, and a machined boattail structure. The fins are folded when the missile is installed in the EALP. Electro-mechanical actuators automatically unfold and lock the spring-loaded fins in flight position when the missile leaves the EALP to control the missile during flight.



Guidance and Control Section

The Block I Guidance and Control Section (GCS) provides all navigation, guidance, autopilot, and internal communications functions for the missile while in flight and for all ground operations. The missile's inertial sensors, electronics, and software provide continuous determination of missile position, attitude, and motion. Figure 1-2 provides a cutaway view of the Block I missile.

Figure 1-2. Army TACMS Block I Missile

Warhead Assembly

The Block I warhead assembly carries, protects, and dispenses a payload of approximately 950 M74 anti-personnel anti-materiel grenades. The warhead assembly consists of a rolled aluminum shell with aluminum support structures and front and rear bulkheads. A center tube connects the bulkheads and provides a central wire route. A safe and arm fuze and a skin severance system controls payload dispense.


Guidance and Control Section

The guidance and control section contains the Improved Missile Guidance Set (IMGS) with an embedded GPS receiver (EGR) for more accurate in-flight guidance corrections and improved accuracy. The IMGS performs all the inertial navigation, guidance, mission control, and built-in-test functions. The IMGS is also the central communications control point within the missile. The IMGS contains the inertial sensor assembly, an electronics assembly, and the EGR that improves missile accuracy over extended ranges.

The Inertial Sensor Assembly (ISA)

The ISA contains three ring laser gyros and three accelerometers with associated electronics. The ISA senses movement and acceleration within the three axes (pitch, roll, and yaw) of the missile. The Inertial Sensor Computer (ISC) provides the ISA output to the IMGS.

The Electronics Assembly

The electronics assembly contains two on-board computer systems that process all ISA and EGR data, and perform all the guidance and control functions. The electronics assembly also serves as the central communications point within the missile.

The Embedded GPS Receiver (EGR)

The EGR provides the missile with very accurate navigational updates from orbiting GPS satellites during flight. These updates improve missile in-flight and terminal accuracy, regardless of the range to the target. The EGR has an external, two-element, beam-shifting antenna system and electronics to acquire, track, and process GPS satellite information. The antenna's location allows the missile to acquire the GPS satellites on the ascending and descending phase of the trajectory. The EGR determines precise position, velocity, time of day, and pseudo-range information.

The launcher initializes the EGR with GPS data. If this does not occur, the improved inertial navigation system guides the missile to the target area with better accuracy than the Block I missile. The missile may still acquire GPS satellite data in flight. In this case, the missile’s delivery accuracy improves.

Warhead Section

The warhead section contains approximately 300 M-74 anti-personnel anti-material grenades (the same submunition used in the Block I missile). The method of dispense is identical to the Block I missile (the missile spins in its descending trajectory). Figure 1-3 shows the Block IA missile configuration.

Figure 1-3. Army TACMS Block IA Missile

Guided Missile Launching Assembly (GMLA).

The Block IA GMLA is virtually identical to the Block I GMLA, with the exception that the J4 connector replaces the J2 connector, and the addition of the J3 connector. The connectors and their functions are described in TM 9-1055-648-13&P, Operator, Organizational, and Direct Support Maintenance, and Repair Parts and Special Tools List manual. There is also a metal shroud to protect the J3 connector from motor blast effects. The GMLA has internal ballast to compensate for the lighter warhead weight.



Block II Missile

The Block II missile is a conventional, semi-ballistic missile which deploys 13 BAT (or P3I BAT) submunitions at ranges to 140 (+) km. The missile is divided into four sections; guidance and control section, payload section, propulsion section, and control section (see Figure 1-4).

Guidance and Control Section.

Components in this section provide all navigation, guidance, autopilot, and internal communications functions for the missile during ground operations and flight. The major components are the IMGS II and the Sequencer Interface Unit (SIU). The IMGS II consists of the EGR, the Navigation and Guidance Computer (NGC), the Inertial Sensor Computer (ISC), and the Submunition Interface Processor (SIP). The inertial sensors aided by the GPS receiver continuously updates position, attitude, and motion to the IMGS II. The IMGS II processes guidance and autopilot functions. It also provides all communications with the launcher electronics for launch control, ground support equipment for maintenance, and the Control System Electronics Unit (CSEU) for missile fin actuator control. The SIU serves as the electronic interface between the IMGS and the BAT submunitions. The SIU applies power to the submunitions during missile Built-in-Test (BIT). It also turns on the submunition batteries and commands their dispense.

Warhead Section

The payload section consists of the BAT (or P3I BAT) submunitions, a skin severance system, and a payload dispensing system. It contains a formed stainless steel skin with a central support structure and front and rear bulkheads. Three aluminum extrusions connect the bulkheads and provide a central wire route. The warhead section also includes an Electronic Safe and Arm Device (ESAD).

Figure 1-4. Army TACMS Block II Missile

BAT Submunition

BAT is an autonomous submunition that employs passive acoustic and infrared sensors to find, attack and destroy tanks and other ACVs moving in formations. The submunition (shown in Figure 1-5) is an unpowered, aerodynamically stable "glider" that is approximately 36 inches long, 5.5 inches in diameter with wings folded and weighs 44 pounds. The following paragraphs describe the BAT’s components.

Air Vehicle. The air vehicle consists of the airframe (nose, wings, flaps, fins, mid-body, aft-body and umbilical), Deceleration and Stabilization Subsystem (DSS), actuator mechanism, Encapsulation and Dispensing Protection Subassembly (EDPS) and flight sensors.

Central Electronics Unit (CEU). The CEU contains the computer processing hardware, software and firmware that perform calculations required to accomplish mission functions. The submunition CEU and IR sensor software is externally programmable and uploaded before launch.

Acoustic Sensor. The acoustic sensor consists of the acoustic probes, preamplifiers and electronic components to detect and locate targets.

Infrared Seeker. The Infrared (IR) seeker contains the seeker optics, dual band IR components, electronics, processor and software to detect, acquire and track targets.

Power Supply. The power supply provides enough power for the longest possible flight mission.

Munition Section. The munition section contains the warhead, safe and arm circuits, and fusing/firing components.

Software. Both the CEU and IR sensor software is loaded before use. It can be updated and externally programmed.

Figure 1-5. The Brilliant Anti-Armor Submunition (BAT)

P3I BAT Submunition

The P3I BAT submunition has a tandem infrared and millimeter wave terminal seeker and an improved warhead. These components enable P3I BAT to kill both moving and stationary high payoff targets. When P3I BAT is mature enough it will be used instead of the BAT in the Block II missile. The Block II missiles fielded with BATs will not be retrofitted with P3I BATs.