Lockheed Martin Successfully Fires ATACMS Block I Missile From MLRS M270A1 Launcher
DALLAS, TX, 14-FEB-01 --
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control - Dallas successfully fired an Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Block I Missile from the new Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) M270A1 upgraded launcher yesterday. The flight occurred at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The ATACMS missile few to the target area and dispensed its payload of submunitions over the target. Preliminary data suggest that all test objectives were successfully achieved.
The test combined the ongoing ATACMS Stockpile Reliability Program (SRP) series of flight tests along with further interoperability testing of the M270A1 launcher.
This was an off-axis launch out of the new M270A1 launcher, and the missile and launcher both performed exceptionally well, said Ron Abbott, vice president - Fire Support for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. We are continuing to put both the ATACMS missiles and M270A1 launchers through a rigorous testing program to assure that their performance exceeds our customer's requirements.
The MLRS M270A1 launcher incorporates a variety of enhancements to the MLRS M270 launcher, including a new Improved Fire Control System (IFCS) and Improved Launcher Mechanical System (ILMS).
The IFCS and ILMS programs merged in 1998 into the M270A1 program. The IFCS upgrade includes a new low cost fire control panel with video, a full keyboard, a mass storage device and GPS navigation. With distributed multi-processor technology incorporated, the IFCS will be able to process large blocks of data from new smart munitions within tactical timelines. Operating and maintenance costs will be reduced up to 38 percent because of greater reliability and ease of repair on IFCS parts. The IFCS upgrade also supports the Army's Corps digitization requirements, and will allow for future MLRS growth options.
ILMS dramatically reduces the time needed to aim and reload the launcher. In a typical fire mission, the ILMS-equipped launcher is six times faster than the current M270 launcher. Reload time is decreased by more than 30 percent. Crew and launcher survivability will be greatly enhanced because total exposure time on the battlefield will be significantly reduced.
The original Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for 21 M270A1s was awarded in 1998, with a follow-on LRIP-2 contract for 24 launchers in 1999. The first M270A1 launcher was delivered to the Army in May 2000. The Army will equip its first active unit with M270A1s in September 2001.
ATACMS was the first tactical surface-to-surface missile ever fired in combat by the U.S. Army, when it was deployed in Operation Desert Storm. Production of the ATACMS was accelerated so that the missile could be used against high priority targets. Each Block I missile has more than 900 Antipersonnel/Antimateriel (APAM) submunitions to ensure sufficient lethality to defeat high-priority targets, such as mobile launchers at depth.
MLRS is the world's most formidable rocket and missile artillery system. Its surface-to-surface ballistic rockets have a range of 28 miles (45 kilometers). A single MLRS launcher can put more than two tons of destructive firepower on a target in one minute and its full load of 12 rockets can cover 30 to 60 acres with thousands of grenade-like submunitions. Each of the submunitions in an MLRS rocket has about the same destructive power as a hand grenade and contains a shaped charge that allows it to penetrate light armor.
MLRS launchers and rockets are now in the inventories of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Bahrain, Japan, Norway, Denmark, South Korea, Israel, Turkey and Greece.
Located in Dallas, Tex.; Orlando, Fla.; and Sunnyvale, Calif., Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control develops, manufactures and supports advanced combat, missile, rocket and space systems. The company is organized in seven program/mission areas: Strike Weapons, Air Defense, Anti-Armor, Naval Munitions, Fire Control and Sensors, Fire Support and Product Development.