MGM-52 Lance Missile System





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Published on Oct 1, 2007


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 a W70 nuclear warhead (variable yield of between 1 and 100 kilotons) 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.


SPL self propelled launcher nuclear warhead liquid propellant gyroscope gyro INS clusterbomb cluster bomblet bomb anti propellant rod boster engine sustainer missile site airburst loader transporter fixed length boom
road wheels waterways ford c-130 c130 c 130 launch fixture launcher zero length LZL tripod hoist lance missile system hand wheel handwheel nuclear armed nuclear weapon system MGM 52 MGM52 MGM-52 Lance field artillery digital automatic computer M18 FADAC XM688E1 XM740 SPL XM752 bipropellant liquid propulsion system
unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine UDMH inhibited red fuming nitric acid IRFNA oxidizer hypergolic Monitor programmer missile guidance set AN/GJM-24 XO-2 XM22E1 AN/DJW48 M234 warhead M38 M40 Grenade

Lance Guided Missile, XMGM-52C
The Lance missile is 6.15 meters
long and 0.56 meters in diameter; it
weighs 1,488 kilograms with a
454-kilogram nonnuclear warhead
section and 1,236 kilograms with a
211-kilogram nuclear warhead section.


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