Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS)
The Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS) is a family of long-range, near
all-weather guided missiles fired from the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
M270 launcher and deployed within the ammunition loads of corps MLRS battalions.
The Army TACMS provides the joint task force (JTF) and corps commanders an
operational fires capability for precision engagement of the enemy throughout the
depth of the battlefield beyond the range of currently fielded cannons and rockets. It
delays disrupts, neutralizes or destroys high payoff targets such as combat maneuver
units, surface to surface missile units, air defense units, command/control/
communications sites and helicopter forward area rearming/refueling points. The
Block IA is an upgrade intended to double the range of the current Army TACMS
Block I missile. Army TACMS Block IA will dispense M74 Anti-Personnel,
Anti-Materiel (APAM) bomblets, as does the Block I. The Army TACMS Block
IA's ability to engage the enemy at extended ranges will reinforce the dominant
maneuver force by helping the JTF commander shape the battlespace.
Army ACAT IC Program
Total program cost (TY$) $658.6M
Average unit cost (TY$) $0.82M
Full-rate Production 2QFY98
Lockheed Martin Vought Systems
Guidance and Control Section (GCS). The GCS provides all navigation, guidance, autopilot, and internal
communications functions for the Army TACMS missile while in flight and for all ground operations. Continuous
determination of position, attitude, and motion are provided by the inertial sensors, associated electronics, and
software processing. Guidance and autopilot functions are provided by software processing within the GCS computer.
All communications, both internal and external to the missile (missile to launcher and/or ground support equipment), are
provided by the GCS electronics and software. This includes communications with the M270 FCS electronics for
launch control, the ground support equipment for maintenance, and the control system electronics unit (CSEU) for
missile fin actuator control.
Propulsion Section. The solid rocket motor furnishes the energy necessary to launch the missile and sustain missile
flight for a sufficient time to meet Army TACMS altitude and range requirements. The solid rocket motor consists of a
motor case, propellant, insulation/liner, nozzle, and igniter arm/fire assembly.
Control Section. The primary functions of the control section assembly are to position the missile fins, provide the
missile electrical power while in flight, and support selected pyrotechnic functions.
Warhead Assembly. The primary function of the warhead assembly is to carry, protect, and dispense the missile
payload. 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. In addition to the payload, the
warhead assembly contains a skin severance system which controls the release of the payload at the required time.
The M39 Missile Warhead is used against personnel and soft targets normally with a TLE of 150 m or less. Larger TLEs may reduce effectiveness. Each missile dispenses a cargo of approximately 950 antipersonnel and antimateriel (APAM)
M74 grenades over the target area. Warhead event is initiated by an electronic time fuze (M219A2) that is set in the same manner as the M445 electronic time fuze of the M26 rocket. The fuze detonates shaped charges mounted to the skin and bulkheads. This in turn severs the skin. By means of centrifugal force and airstream currents, the M74 grenades are distributed over the target area. Arming of the M74 grenades is accomplished by the spin action which is induced on the individual grenade. The M74 grenade is filled with composition B explosive filler and is covered by a
steel shell. Upon impact and detonation each grenade breaks up into a large number of high-velocity steel fragments that are effective against targets such as truck tires, missile rounds, thin-skinned vehicles, and radar antennas. This submunition is not effective against armored vehicles. The M74 grenade also contains incendiary
material and has an antipersonnel radius of 15 m.
Army TACMS Block I:
The Army Tactical Missile System (Army TACMS) resulted from a
need to engage high priority targets at ranges beyond those of
existing weapons. The Army TACMS Block I replaces the conventional
Lance system. Block I is a ground launched, deep fires missile
system consisting of a surface-to-surface guided missile with
an anti-personnel/anti-materiel (APAM) warhead consisting of approximately
950 M-74 bomblets.
The missiles are fired from the Multiple Launch Rocket System
(MLRS) modified M270 launcher. The missiles are deployed within
the ammunition loads of corps MLRS battalions and/or division
artillery batteries. The Army TACMS includes guided missile and
launching assembly, test set, guided missile system, training
set, guided missile system: M165, trainer, test device guided
missile: M70, modified M270 launcher, and Army TACMS missiles
The Army TACMS Block I is a semi-ballistic missile with an APAM
warhead that contains approximately 930 M-74 bomblets. There is
1 missile per guided missile and launching assembly and 2 missiles
per launcher load. The missile will engage targets throughout
the corps area of influence and is designed to destroy tactical
missile launchers, suppress air defense, counter Command, Control,
and Communications (C3) complexes and disrupt logistics.
Provides deep fires in support of deep attack/precision strike
Target Set: 2nd Echelon Maneuver Units; Air Defense Units; Command
and Control Sites; Surface-to-Surface Missile Units; Forward Area
Resupply Points (FARRPS).
The Army TACMS Block I missile underwent IOT&E in 1990. The most significant
deficiency noted in the DOT&E BLRIP report that followed the IOT&E was that
the Army did not demonstrate the ability to conduct target acquisition at the Block I
engagement ranges. However, DOT&E assessed the system to be operationally
effective, and the system entered full-rate production. Army TACMS Block I was
deployed and fired in Operation Desert Storm.
Army TACMS Block IA
Army TACMS Block IA is an extended range variant of the Army TACMS
Block I missile. The Block IA effort entails integrating an onboard
Global Positioning System (GPS) with antenna and software into
an inertial navigation system and reducing the Block I payload
from 950 M-74 bomblets to approximately 300 M-74 bomblets to achieve
the required accuracy and extended range. To compensate for the reduced payload, the accuracy of the missile
has been improved with inflight GPS updates. If GPS is rendered inoperable, the
Army TACMS Block IA reverts to inertial guidance only and maintains Block I
accuracy. The missile is fired
from the Improved Position Determining System of the M270 "deep
strike" launcher and the M270A1 launcher with the improved fire
control system (IFCS) and improved launcher mechanical system
Army TACMS Block IA is a semi-ballistic missile that provides
near all weather, day and night, precision strike capability at
ranges beyond existing cannons, rockets, and missiles. Block IA
uses the guided missile control and propulsion systems of the
Army TACMS Block I missile. The Block IA warhead will use a majority
of the Block I warhead components except the payload of anti-personnel/anti-materiel
(APAM) M-74 bomblets will be reduced in the Block IA to extend
its range. Block IA uses an improved version of the Army TACMS
Block I Missile Guidance Set (IMGS) to achieve the improved accuracy
needed to meet the Block IA system requirements for mission accuracy.
The IMGS uses an embedded GPS receiver (EGR) to receive and process
GPS satellite navigation signals and integrate the GPS data into
the inertial guidance scheme to improve navigational accuracy.
There is 1 missile per guided missile and launching assembly and
2 missiles per launcher load.
Prior to completion of the MLRS Improved Fire Control System (IFCS), the M270
launcher requires modifications that include the installation of an interim improved
positioning and determining system (IPDS) and an interface for connecting a
KYK-13 cryptographic loading device. The IPDS, the positioning and navigation unit
of the future IFCS, employs ring laser gyros, force-rebalanced accelerometers, and
the GPS to provide launcher location and navigation data. The Army will field one
battalion of IPDS-equipped launchers until IFCS is fielded in the M270A1 launcher
In April 1996, the PEO Tactical Missiles conducted a Low-Rate Initial Production
(LRIP) review of the program and authorized procurement of 70 Block IA missiles.
The Army conducted three missile launches prior to the LRIP review, and five
additional missile firings in the formal developmental testing between February and
October 1996. The IOT&E, consisting of a ground phase at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and
a two-missile live firing phase at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, was
conducted in August and September 1996. Live Fire testing, consisting of an arena
test (22 M74 bomblet firings) and two end-to-end missile firings (one DT shot against
a 9-target array and one OT shot against a 15-target array), was completed in
During 2QFY97, DOT&E completed its assessment of the Army TACMS Block IA
and participated in the Integrated Product Team preparations for a March 1997
Army Systems Acquisition Review Council Milestone III decision. Problems
identified in the Army's and DOT&E's assessments caused the Army Acquisition
Executive (AAE) to delay the Milestone III decision until 2QFY98, and grant
approval for a second LRIP contract award for 97 missiles.
The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is coordinating a
sensor-to-shooter assessment to determine the Army's capabilities to detect targets
at the Block IA ranges and to process that information in a timely manner. They
have established a General Officer Steering Committee to monitor progress of the
assessment. The GOSC includes the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for
Operations Research; the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations–Force
Development; The Deputy for Systems Management; the Program Executive
Officer (PEO) Tactical Missiles; PEO, Intelligence and Electronic Warfare;
Commandant, U.S. Army Field Artillery School; Commandant, U.S. Army
Intelligence Center; and Commanding General, U.S. Army Operational Test and
Program Manager (PM), Army TACMS, is sponsoring an excursion to a Joint Staff
study of Joint Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (JSEAD) in a Southwest Asia
scenario. The excursion is intended to demonstrate the inflight survivability of the
Block IA in an active threat air defense environment. If necessary, TRADOC will
update the Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis based on the study's
determination of missile survivability.
PM, Army TACMS, sponsored additional live fire testing to improve characterization
of M74 bomblet effects against the threat targets. Those tests include employment of
a live warhead against trucks and fuel containers, and arena testing to characterize
bomblet pyrophoric effects against targets configured with fuel and ammunition.
After analysis of the IOT&E, LFT&E and flight test data which were generated in
accordance with the approved TEMP, DOT&E assessed the Army TACMS Block
IA to be not operationally effective, and not operationally suitable as tested. The
DOT&E assessment was based on deficiencies in the target acquisition system at
Block IA ranges, missile performance, bomblet lethality, missile inflight survivability
and reliability. The Army's conclusion was that ATACMS Block IA was suitable
and marginally effective. The AAE's Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM)
stated that a favorable decision at the Milestone III will be contingent on addressing
the following issues.
The cause of the low prelaunch reliability was identified to be a problem in the
launcher Global Positioning System software which affected the transfer of a
precision timing signal to the missile. The Army corrected the problem and tested the
corrected software in January demonstrating that the software performed as
intended. On 25 June and 03 December 1997 they further demonstrated the fix with
successful test flights.
- Using Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence,
Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture, can the Army
consistently demonstrate the ability to detect and locate targets with the
required accuracy at the extended range of the Block IA system, and then
provide the targeting data to the Deep Operations Coordination Cell in a
- Can the Army demonstrate the ability to achieve the required level of effects
on all of the Block IA Operational Requirements Document (ORD) targets?
- Can the Army demonstrate, through modeling, inflight survivability when
attacking the ORD targets in a realistic operational scenario?
- Can the overall missile reliability (inflight and prelaunch), and launcher
reliability requirements of the Army TACMS Block IA system be achieved
during the life of the system?
Army TACMS Block II
The Block II Army Tactical Missile System for the Army is a long
range, all weather, day/night, tactical missile designed to defeat
critical high pay-off targets in support of Corps level deep operations.
The Block II variant is a pre-planned product improvement (P3I)
to the Army TACMS Block I and IA missile systems specifically
designed to kill moving armored targets and surface-to-surface
missile (SSM) transporter erector launchers (SCUD TELs). The Block
II carries 13 BAT or P3I BAT brilliant submunitions. The Block
II carrying the basic BAT is designed to destroy critical moving
armored formations such as a reserve tank battalion moving from
assembly areas in the enemy's rear. The Block II equipped with
P3I is designed to seek out and destroy both stationary targets,
such as the SCUD and moving TELs and tanks as well. As with the
Block IA missile, the Block II guidance set is augmented by an
on-board GPS to improve accuracy.
Army TACMS Block II is a conventional semi-ballistic surface-to-surface
designed to attack targets beyond the range of existing field
artillery cannon and rocket fires. The missile is fired from the
launcher assigned to MLRS Corps Artillery Unit. There is 1 missile
per guided missile and launching assembly and 2 missiles per launcher
The Block II utilizes the Block I missile control and propulsion
set, the Block IA guidance and inertial navigation set, and unique
hardware and software to assure necessary missile communication
with the BAT and P3I BAT submunition. Thrust for the missile is
provided by a solid propellant rocket motor which is ignited by
an igniter arm/fire device. Control of the missile during flight
is accomplished by four fins located 90' apart in the control
section of the missile.
Sources and Resources
Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike