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MGM-140 ATACMS: Specifications, Buyers & Recent Use In Battlefield

MGM-140 ATACMS: Specifications, Buyers & Recent Use In Battlefield, Transatlantic Today
credit: en.defence-ua

Washington DC (Transatlantic Today) — The MGM-140 ATACMS is a GPS-guided cruise missile designed to be fired from warships and submarines. The missile is designed to provide precision strike capabilities against targets at long ranges. It is equipped with a variety of sensors that allow it to strike targets with high accuracy.

An ATACMS launch container comes with a lid that is patterned with six circles. Like a standard MLRS rocket lid, it can work wonders but it can contain only one missile. The identical pattern makes it more challenging for enemy intelligence and can single out a high-value target easily.

Introduction To The MGM-140 ATACMS

The MGM-140 ATACMS is a weapon system that is currently being utilized by the United States military. This weapon system is a shoulder-fired, air-to-surface missile system that was developed by the United States Department of Defense. The MGM-140 ATACMS is a guided missile that is designed to provide the military with a precision strike capability. It was renamed the precision strike missile PRSM program in 2019. 

This missile has a range of up to 80 kilometers and can be fired from ground or air platforms. The MGM-140 ATACMS is a highly accurate weapon system that is designed to strike targets with minimal collateral damage. The weapon system has a rapid-fire capability and can fire up to eight missiles per minute. It can be used in a variety of tactical environments and can be used to engage targets in a variety of weather conditions.


  • Mass: 3,690 pounds (1,670 kg)
  • Length: 13 feet (4.0 m)
  • Diameter: 24 inches (610 mm)
  • Maximum firing range: 190 mi (300 km)
  • Wingspan: 55 inches (1.4 m)
  • Flight ceiling: 160,000 ft (50 km)
  • Maximum speed: Over Mach 3 (0.6 mi/s; 1.0 km/s)
  • Guidance system: GPS-aided inertial navigation guidance
  • Launch Platform: M270, HIMARS


  • Bahrain: The Royal Bahraini Army purchased 30 M39-series ATACMS in 2000 and 110 M57 ATACMS in 2018.
  • Greece: The Hellenic Army operates the 165 km variant.
  • South Korea: In 2002, the South Korean Army purchased 111 ATACMS Block I and 110 ATACMS Block IA missiles. The missile was deployed by the army in 2004. An affiliated company of the Hanwha Group of Korea has also produced munitions for the missile systems. The formation is under the license of Lockheed Martin.
  • Romania: The Romanian Land Forces purchased 54 M57 ATACMS. All of them were delivered by June 2022.
  • Poland: The Polish Land Forces purchased 30 M57 ATACMS. The missile units were delivered by June 2022.
  • Turkey: The Turkish Army has purchased the ATACMS Block IA.
  • Qatar: The Qatari Emiri Land Force purchased 60 M57 ATACMS in 2012.
  • United Arab Emirates: The United Arab Emirates Army acquired 100 M57 ATACMS in 2014.
  • United States: The United States Army and United States Marine Corps have acquired the ATACMS operators

Recent Use In Battlefield

ATACMS was first used in combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when 32 missiles were fired from the M270 MLRS. A total of 450 ATACMS missiles were fired during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Over 560 ATACMS missiles have been fired in combat as of early 2015.

Speculation Of MGM-140 ATACMS Use 

In August 2022, it was speculated that ATACMS would be employed in certain Ukrainian attacks on Crimean airbases. In response, Undersecretary of Defense For Policy Colin Kahl stated on the 24th of that month:

 “We assess that the Ukrainians do not require ATACMS to address targets pertinent to the ongoing conflict. We will continue to have discussions with them regarding their needs, but as of now we believe it best to focus on GMLRS as opposed to ATACMS.”

 The SAAB-Boeing GLSDB is another system offered for Ukrainian consideration, coming for $40,000 per unit. It is significantly cheaper than an estimate of over $1M for each ATACMS.

U.S. Army Terminated The ATACMS Program

In 2007, the U.S. Army terminated the ATACMS program due to cost. They rendered that the option of replenishing stocks no longer possible. To maintain what was left of the inventory, they launched the ATACMS Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). The army tactical missile system will undergo a program that refurbishes or replaces propulsion and navigation systems.

It also substitutes cluster munition warheads with unitary blast fragmentation types. It also grants a proximity fuze option for area effects. Deliveries were estimated to start in 2018. Meanwhile, this SLEP is an interim solution that gives them time to investigate and develop a successor capable of aging the ATACMS stockpile. The project will expectedly be completed by 2022. It is projected to achieve initial operational capability in 2023. 


1. What Are MGM-140 ATACMS Capabilities? 

It is the primary surface-to-surface missile systems for the United States Army. The ATACMS is a surface-to-surface missile designed for the United States Army. The missile has a range of about 180 kilometers and possesses a warhead weighing 1,000 kilograms.

2. How Does MGM-140 ATACMS Control System Help? 

The MGM-140 ATACMS is a guided missile with a high-quality guidance and control system. It comes with a state-of-the-art missile system. It provides commanding officers with enhanced situational awareness so they can make better decisions in combat. The system includes a moving map display that shows the location and movement of all enemy units in the area. It is a global positioning system that allows commanders to make pinpoint corrections to their fire.

3. How Does MGM-140 ATACMS Work?

The ATACMS is a GPS-guided munition. This missile can only be launched by an m270. It uses a combination of imaging infrared, electronic intelligence, and laser guidance to strike its target with high precision. The munition can be fired from various platforms, including manned aircraft and ground vehicles.

4. What Are The Features Of MGM-140 ATACMS?

The MGM-140 ATACMS is a multiple-launch rocket system. It has a long-range, precision-guided strike weapon that is capable of carrying a variety of payloads, including conventional and nuclear warheads. The missile is equipped with a dual-mode sensor system that allows it to engage both land and sea targets.

Read More: RGM-84 Harpoon: Specifications, Buyers & Recent Use In Battlefield

5. What Was The Purpose Of The Development Of MGM-140 ATACMS?

Developed as part of the Air Force’s Long-Range Standoff Missile (LRSM) program. The MGM-140 was designed to provide the United States with a nuclear option for attacking targets at ranges up to 1,000 kilometers.

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