The Army Tactical Missile System was first produced by the Missiles Division of LTV Aerospace and Defense for the U.S. Army. The first tactical use of the ATACMS missile was in the Gulf war in 1992.
ATACMS is a conventional surface to surface artillery weapon capable of striking targets beyond the range of existing Army cannons, rockets, and Lance Missiles. This long range guided missile is fired from the M270 weapons platform which also fires the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) rockets. Two missiles are loaded in each launcher.
The initial ATACMS assembly is done at Missiles Division headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas. Final assembly is done in Horizon City, near El Paso Texas.
Low-rate production began in February 1989. A full-scale production contract was awarded in November 1990.
As of November 1998 there were three versions of the ATACMS missile.
Block I This first version replaced the conventional Lance missile and was used for artillery deep fire missions. The Block I missile carried 930 M-74 bomblets.
Block IA. This was an improvement of the Block I using an embedded GPS receiver to improve the accuracy of the missile.
Block II This version was designed to kill moving armored targets and surface-to-surface launchers, SCUD launchers for example. The warhead in the Block II missile is 13 BAT submunitions