ua en ru

American ATACMS missiles: Range, cost, and capabilities explored

American ATACMS missiles: Range, cost, and capabilities explored Photo: The United States is transferring ATACMS missiles to Ukraine
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Ukraine had received ATACMS missiles from the United States before the situation with the Congressional blocking of aid. However, it has become known that Washington secretly handed over missiles to Ukraine in March that had already been used against the Russian troops.

Read more about the US ATACMS missiles in the RBC-Ukraine article below.

Sources used: Pentagon, the White House, the President of Ukraine, CNN, Reuters, Defense Express, and Wikipedia.


First ATACMS deliveries

In the fall of 2023, the Ukrainian military attacked the Russian airfields in Luhansk and Berdiansk. The media reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine used American long-range ATACMS missiles, which were provided in small quantities.

Later, the US confirmed this information. Washington clarified that Ukrainian soldiers were provided with missiles with a range of up to 165 kilometers.

After that, the Ukrainian military repeatedly used ATACMS. But the situation changed when the US Congress blocked aid to Ukraine. The supply of military aid, including these missiles, stopped.

American ATACMS missiles: Range, cost, and capabilities exploredfacebook com inukraineofficial

United States secretly transferred missiles

Yesterday, April 24, it became known that the United States secretly provided Ukraine with an undisclosed number of ATACMS missiles in March. This was confirmed by the Pentagon.

The long-range missiles were included in a $300 million military aid package to Ukraine that US President Joe Biden approved on March 12. It is not known exactly how many missiles Ukraine received. However, ATACMS have already been used against the Russian army.

According to Reuters, the Ukrainian military fired ATACMS at a military airfield in Dzhankoy (in the north of Crimea), destroying Russian air defense systems. Western media also reported that the missiles could have been used on the night of April 24. But the details of their use are not disclosed.

The US has already promised that Ukraine will continue to receive ATACMS. CNN notes that the next aid package may include these missiles.

ATACMS characteristics

ATACMS are tactical missiles manufactured by Lockheed Martin. These missiles are among the main ones in service with the US Army. They are also successfully used by the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

In general, several modifications differ in range and accuracy. ATACMS can be launched by M270 MLRS or HIMARS missile systems. Both are at the disposal of the Ukrainian Defense Forces. HIMARS is more mobile than the tracked M270 MLRS.

ATACMS modifications:

  • ATACMS Block I. It was adopted in 1991. The range is up to 165 km. Its length is 3.96 m and its diameter is 0.61 m. This modification can be found under the designations M39, MGM-140, or MGM-140A. The main feature is the cluster part, which ejects 950 elements. On approach to the target, the missile opens and fills the area with these elements.
  • ATACMS Block IA. It was adopted in 1998. The range is up to 300 km, the size is the same as its predecessor. The missile has only 300 warheads but flies a longer distance.
  • ATACMS Block IVA. A later modification that also has a range of up to 300 km. It has a larger warhead designed to destroy fortifications and bunkers.
  • ATACMS-P. It was developed for the US Navy. Designed to destroy buried targets.

There are also other modifications of these missiles. The manufacturer Lockheed Martin notes that the latest versions have a range of up to 450 km.

Ukraine has received missiles with a range of up to 165 km. However, some Western media outlets point out that the United States can now provide missiles that fly up to 300 km.

American ATACMS missiles: Range, cost, and capabilities explored

Photo: radius of destruction up to 165 and 300 km (

American ATACMS missiles: Range, cost, and capabilities explored

Photo: radius of destruction up to 165 and 300 km (

What ATACMS designed for

According to the manufacturer, a large number of enemy targets can be targeted by ATACMS missiles. These include airfields, control centers, fuel and lubricant depots, and trains.

It is also possible to hit places where a large number of enemy manpower is concentrated.

Ukraine has already shown that it can effectively and efficiently use ATACMS. The Ukrainian Armed Forces targeted airfields in occupied Luhansk, Berdiansk, and Crimea.

Ukraine tries to use Western missiles in cases where it is possible to inflict heavy and costly losses on the enemy, including in equipment.

Price of ATACMS missiles

In general, the exact cost of American ATACMS missiles is unknown. The price depends on the modification, as well as the specifics of the order: the volume and terms of the contract.

For example, in 2020, Lockheed Martin reported working on an order worth $426 million. According to the contract, it was planned to produce 400 missiles. That is one missile cost about $1.065 million.

In 2012, Finland purchased ATACMS missiles (M391A modification with a range of up to 165 km). Back then, the cost of one missile was $1.9 million. But under the terms of the contract, the package also included the deployment of a technical base and training.