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ATACMS: The Long-Range, Surface-to-Surface Missile System Explained

The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is a surface-to-surface missile (SSM) produced by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Army. It's known for its precision and long-range capabilities, typically used for striking high-value targets, enemy concentrations, and critical infrastructure.

Here are some key specifications:

- Length: Approximately 13 feet (4 meters).

- Weight: Roughly 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg).

- Diameter: About 24 inches (610 mm).

- Range: The Block I variant can reach targets approximately 165 km (103 miles) away, while the Block IA variant increases this to around 300 km (190 miles). Newer variants under development, such as the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), aim to further extend this range.

- Payload: The original ATACMS (Block I) carried 950 M74 submunitions, which spread over a wide area to engage enemy personnel and light vehicles. The Block IA variant, developed in response to the international trend away from cluster munitions, carries a unitary blast-fragmentation warhead for precision strikes against a single target.

- Guidance System: Both variants use a combination of GPS (Global Positioning System) and INS (Inertial Navigation System) for accurate targeting.

The ATACMS can be launched from multiple rocket launch systems, such as the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Its ability to hit targets deep in enemy territory without putting aircraft or crews at risk has made it a valuable part of the U.S. Army's arsenal since it was first fielded in the 1980s.

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