MGM-52 Lance

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MGM-52C Lance

MGM-52 Lance short range ballistic missiles were the last nuclear armed guided missiles built for the U.S. Army, replacing the MGM-29 Sergeant and MGR-1 Honest John in U.S. Army service. They were replaced for non-nuclear applications by the MGM-140 ATACMS, and, while retired as a weapons system, continue to be used as targets for theater ballistic missile defense tests.

Development began in 1962 and the last operational missiles were retired in 1991. With conventional warheads only, the U.S. provided it to NATO countries and the Israeli Defense Forces.

The missile used storable liquid propellant and inertial guidance. Its range was 120 km/75 miles/


While chemical weapon and cluster munition warheads had been designed, only W70 nuclear warheads were ever put into production. An "enhanced radiation" or "neutron bomb" W70 Mod 3 version was developed but never issued to the field.


Its main engine, build by Rocketdyne, was a variable-thrust boost and sustainer liquid-fueled rocket engine system, using storable liquid propellants. Development was slow and troublesome. Also, the Lance fired A 4 spin motors immediately after launch, producing a characteristic cloud of black smoke.

Comparable weapons

The Soviet Union continues to field the OTR-21 Tochka, DIA/NATO designation SS-21 SCALEBOARD, with comparable although slightly less range. It is equipped with aconventional warheads, but is capable of taking chemical, biological and radiological warheads. This missile has been sold to Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Iran, Kazakhstan], Libya, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen. North Korea both bought it and produced a reverse-engineered variant.