Credit: via Andreas Parsch
AKA: MGM-52. Status: Active. First Launch: 1996-08-22. Last Launch: 2009-03-26. Number: 8 .
Planning began in the late 1950s for more modern technology replacements of second generation Army missiles. In 1962 Ling-Temco-Vought was selected as prime contractor for the Honest John replacement, dubbed Lance. In order to obtain the high performance desired in a smaller missile, the typical use of solid propellant in a tactical weapon was abandoned in favor of storable liquid propellants. The Rocketdyne engine had higher performance and could also be finely throttled in flight to maximize range. Lance's four spin motors, not the Rocketdyne engine, produced the trademark black smoke in every firing picture. The missile's inertial system monitored acceleration to ensure that the engine was throttled to keep to the precise predetermined trajectory, compensating for any atmospheric changes or disturbances. First Lance test flight was in March 1965. Tweaking of the design resulted in the Extended Range Lance (XRL), with a range of 140 km, eliminating the need to develop replacements for other short range second generation rockets. The decision was made to put only the XRL into production. This decision and problems with the engine resulted in tests extending from 1967 to 1971, with first deployment in May 1972. Lance missiles were armed with a W-70 variable-yield thermonuclear weapon (1 kT - 100 kT), with a convention warhead becoming available in the 1980's. The liquid propellant of the Lance inventory became an important resource when an explosion at a propellant plant resulted in insufficient liquid propellant in the United States to keep US Air Force Titan space launchers in service in the 1980's.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union the Lance's mission came to an end. All were withdrawn from service in 1991-1992. The Army put the conventional ATACMS into service as a replacement for the conventional Lances.
Initial Operational Capability: 1972.
|XMGM-52B American short range ballistic missile.|
|MGM-52A American short range ballistic missile.|
|MGM-52C American short range ballistic missile. Simplified inertial guided, nuclear or conventional warhead|