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MGM-52 Lance

The LANCE was developed as a mobile surface-to-surface weapon system in 1962. This missile was declared obsolete for operating forces in April 1994. The LANCE missile is about 20 feet long and weighs about 3373 pounds. Maximum range is reported to be 75 miles. Maximum speed is Mach 3. LANCE uses a pre-packed liquid-propellant that generates 42,000 pounds of boost thrust. The missile uses an inertial guidance system that is electronic countermeasures resistant.

The LANCE was a mobile field artillery tactical missile system used to provide both nuclear and non-nuclear general fire support to the Army Corps. Designed to attack key enemy targets beyond the range of cannon artillery and to reinforce the fires of other artillery units, the LANCE replaced the HONEST JOHN system, fielded in 1954, and the SERGEANT system, deployed in 1962. It filled the U.S. Army's need for a highly mobile, medium-range, fin stabilized, all weather, surface-to-surface missile weapon system. The LANCE's primary mission targets included enemy missile firing positions, airfields, transportation centers, command and logistic installations, critical terrain features (defiles, bridgeheads, main supply routes, etc.), and large troop concentrations.

The missile was incrementally guided by a self-contained system using the Directional Control Automatic Meteorological (DCAM) Compensation concept. The LANCE missile was launched by a high thrust booster that propelled it out to 1500 meters. The boost phase direction was controlled by a gyro commanding secondary injection into the booster. The booster cut off and the variable thrust sustainer, controlled by an accelerometer, provided the exact amount of thrust to equal the missile drag. The result was a predictable trajectory that essentially eliminated errors caused by atmospheric disturbances or changes. The missile was aimed using field artillery techniques plus the variable booster time. Unlike other Army missiles that use solid propellants, the LANCE used a prepackaged, liquid fuel that eliminated any need for fueling in the field and gave the LANCE a short reaction time. It was capable of delivering nuclear warheads out to a range of about 75 miles and conventional warheads to a range of about 45 miles.

The missile system briefly gained notoriety as the "neutron bomb," after the Washington Post reported on the Army's development of a warhead for the LANCE that would kill people but cause minimal destruction of property. The enhanced radiation warhead was designed to release within a restricted radius great quantities of neutrons which attacked the human central nervous system. The warhead would also reduce the heat and blast effects of conventional nuclear warheads, thereby reducing the destruction of buildings and collateral damage to civilian populated areas. Officials believed that the LANCE enhanced radiation warhead would deter a Soviet attack by threatening the U.S.S.R. with a weapon that could be used without destroying the Federal Republic of Germany in order to save it. Congress approved production funds for the new warhead on 13 July 1977, but President Jimmy Carter deferred production of the neutron warhead in April 1978.

Established under the U.S. Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) as the Missile "B" Project Office on 11 December 1961, the subsequently renamed LANCE was one of the original project management offices created with the activation of the U.S. Army Missile Command (MICOM) on 1 August 1962. The LANCE Missile System development began when MICOM issued a letter contract to Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV), prime contractor for the system, on 11 January 1963. Four months later, on 24 May, MICOM definitized the original letter contract as a cost-plus-incentive-fee (CPIF) contract, the first ever applied to a major U.S. Army weapon system. This CPIF contract was also unique because it covered the entire research and development phase of the LANCE program, and was one of the first Army contracts "certified" for Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)-Cost.

On 1 December 1970, the LANCE weapon system was elevated to a Class II activity assigned to U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Headquarters, although it was still physically located at Redstone Arsenal (RSA). The project office returned to MICOM's jurisdiction on 1 August 1974. The LANCE Project Office was terminated on 31 March 1980, and responsibility for the missile system transferred to the MICOM Weapon Systems Management Directorate (WSMD). Level II management of the system was subsequently provided by the MICOM Missile Logistics Center (later the Integrated Materiel Management Center) from July 1981 until FY 1992. Responsibility for the demilitarization and reuse of excess LANCE assets was transferred to the reestablished MICOM WSMD in FY 1993.

A family of field artillery missiles designated "A" to "D" was proposed for development in the 1965-70 timeframe. Missile "B" was to deliver a 1000-pound nuclear, non-nuclear, or chemical warhead to a range of 75 kilometers. Accuracy was set at 5 mils to encourage a low unit cost of the missile. The technical approach of DCAM was a perfect fit. Dr. William C. McCorkle and Mr. R.G. Conard of the Ordnance Missile Laboratories (OML) at Redstone Arsenal invented the DCAM guidance system. This was the first and perhaps the only Army missile system based on an OML invention.

The feasibility of the Automet was demonstrated by an experimental Missile "A" using a constant thrust booster with a variable aerodynamic drag missile. Missile "B" required the development of a unique variable thrust liquid engine. The technical recommendations in June 1961 were that this new engine be demonstrated before proceeding with a Missile "B" development program. On 9 May 1962, the Department of Defense (DOD) directed that the prime contractor for the Missile "B" development program be selected by 1 October 1962. On 1 November 1962, the Army selected the LTV team in Dallas, Texas, to do the work in the Michigan Army Missile Plant (MAMP). At this time, Missile "B" was renamed LANCE.

LTV immediately started the total system development with emphasis on meeting the schedule incentive for the first flight. Three LANCE missile configurations were planned for the development program: Engineering Model (EM) for development; Tactical Prototype (TP) for transition to production; and Production Model (PM) for hardtooled production line.

By April 1964, serious problems with the propulsion system caused the LANCE Project Office and LTV to put a team on-site at the subcontractor, Rocketdyne. The team identified technical and management problems involving more than propulsion, and corrective action was taken. The missile length had to be increased to compensate for reduced engine performance, while the schedule-driven program was changed to an event-driven logic using "Quantified Milestones" (QMs).

The first successful engine test occurred on 16 January 1965. The first flight test was conducted successfully on 15 March 1965. The LANCE DCAM concept was demonstrated by this flight, which experienced a 125-knot crosswind at apogee. Subsequent EM flights resulted in a test, fix, test approach. DOD moved LANCE from a Research and Development (R&D) category to one of General Purpose Forces in November 1965. The final block of six EM flight tests was completed successfully on 3 October 1966. The following month, recommendations for Limited Production (LP) were submitted to the Department of the Army (DA), which authorized LP procurement of 17 sets of ground support equipment (GSE) on 15 June 1967.

Studies in April 1965 showed that LANCE could extend its range to 75 miles by the use of a higher performance engine and larger fins, and by removing the ballast from the nuclear warhead. This meant that the Extended Range LANCE (XRL) could fill both the "B" and "C" missions. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Research and Development) (ASA[R&D]) directed that the concept be demonstrated in time for an October 1966 XRL decision. Two experimental XRL missiles demonstrated the feasibility on 28 September 1966. DA approved development of XRL in March 1967. On 15 December 1967, the Secretary of the Defense directed that only the XRL configuration of LANCE be fielded.

The TP flight test program began in early 1967 with mixed results. The test program was halted on 20 October 1967 when the fifth TP missile blew up. A new diagnostic approach was developed to find the "Root Cause" of the failure. The failures were isolated to the most likely cause and the failure duplicated before the "Root Cause" was confirmed. Corrective action was then applied. The "Root Cause" of this failure was confirmed on 13 May 1968. The corrective action was appropriately known as SOS-Spring on Seal-to keep oxygen-rich gases from mixing with the hot, fuel-rich solid propellant gas generator gases. The new feed system was successfully flown on 30 August 1968 and subsequently certified by four more flights by March 1969.

The first XRL flight test was conducted successfully on 13 May 1969. However, on 11 July 1969, the XRL engine failed dramatically due to combustion instability. The diagnostic process was used to isolate the problem and then to direct the solution demonstrated on 24 October 1969. On 6 March 1970, the XRL maximum range and accuracy were successfully demonstrated. A senior In-Process Review (IPR) on 10 September 1970 recommended LP production of 75 missiles and cancelled the chemical warhead flights.

The first Engineering Test (ET)/Service Test (ST) failed on Friday, 13 August 1971. The "Root Cause" was a missile power interruption from the nuclear warhead. With corrective action, the flight tests continued until 30 November 1971, when a second nuclear warhead missile failed. This failure required a major redesign of the nuclear warhead circuitry. Another 12 missiles and 9 additional months were required to certify the redesign.

A Production Validation IPR held on 9 May 1972 recommended Type Classification Standard "A" (TC-STD-A) for the LANCE missile and an extension of the nuclear warhead LP quantities based on ET/ST results. Following a subsequent IPR, the nuclear warhead was declared TC-STD-A on 16 April 1973.

The non-nuclear warhead program progressed slowly due to a continuing problem with an XM41 munition high dud rate such that in the latter part of FY 1969 the standard M40 munition was explored for use with LANCE. On November 1971, Congress cancelled all funds for the non-nuclear warhead. A restart of the program was authorized in January 1973. By April 1974, 10 flight tests had been completed, but a redesign and retest of the main fuze was required. In 1976, the production go-ahead for 360 missiles was received.

LANCE missile production was approved in September 1970, and the first battalion was fielded to the U.S. Army, Europe (USAREUR) in September 1973. At that time, the system achieved its initial operational capability (IOC). Less than two years later, the first full-scale deployment of the LANCE to a foreign military sales (FMS) customer was accomplished. Once it was fully fielded, the Army had eight LANCE battalions, six in Europe and two in the United States. LANCE was also sold to NATO allies and to Israel in the non-nuclear version.

Originally scheduled to be retired in the mid-1980s, the LANCE system was extended through 1990. DA subsequently decided in June 1985 to extend the nuclear-only LANCE shelf life to 1995. However, on 27 September 1991, President George Bush announced a unilateral cut in nuclear weapons, which was followed on 5 October by a similar announcement by President Mikhail Gorbachev of the U.S.S.R. Although the Soviet Union collapsed shortly thereafter, the United States later reaffirmed this nuclear arms reduction agreement by signing a treaty with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine on 23 May 1992. The final LANCE battalion stood down at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on 30 June 1992. After being demilitarized, excess LANCE missiles were set aside for use as targets.

LANCE is used as a short-range ballistic missile target, capable of being instrumented and modified to meet a wide-range of DOD test requirements. The US Army Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM) PM for Instrumentation Targets and Threat Simulators manages the LANCE Missile Target Program. The USMC used the LANCE to stimulate the TPS-59 (V)3 system during both DT&E and OT&E.

During test concept development for the TPS-59 (V)3 OT&E, it was determined that both the PM and MCOTEA needed to test the ability of the radar to detect live missiles in flight from differing directions and ranges. Dual missile detection and cueing tests were planned to evaluate two targets in the same azimuth dwell. ABTs were added to missile detection events to test multiple capabilities of the Combined Mode of the TPS-59 (V)3 Radar. Variation of targets would allow the TPS-59 (V)3 to be tested under operationally representative threat conditions against both small RCS missiles and ABTs (F-16s) with larger RCS. Combining missile and ABT presentations contributed data elements to resolve several different MOEs.

Limited threat representative aircraft were readily available, although expensive, to support TPS-59 (V)3 test and evaluation (T&E). Threat representative missiles, although available, were unaffordable in the numbers required to support DT&E or OT&E. Without STRICOM's LANCE Program, a marginally acceptable realistic test would not have been possible and very significant residual risk would have remained upon completion of OT&E. The most important factor contributing to successful use of LANCE was that the Army and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) had validated the LANCE missile as a threat representative target. This greatly facilitated the MARCORSYSCOM PM's and MCOTEA's ensuing accreditation of LANCE to support DT&E and OT&E, respectively [Reference (8)]. Without BMDO support, MARCORSYSCOM and MCOTEA would not have had the resources to independently V&V LANCE, and accredit LANCE based on that V&V.

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Page last modified: 06-12-2017 17:40:20 ZULU