|Type||Tactical ballistic missile|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||U.S. Army, Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, and West Germany|
|Unit cost||~US$800K (1996 dollars)|
~US$1.3 million (2021)
|Mass||2,850–3,367 lb (1,293–1,527 kg) depending on warhead|
|Length||20 ft (6.1 m)|
|Diameter||22 in (560 mm)|
|Warhead||1 W70 nuclear or M251 high explosive submunitions|
|Blast yield||1–100 kilotons of TNT (4.2–418.4 TJ)|
|45–75 mi (72–121 km), depending on warhead|
|Maximum speed||>Mach 3|
The MGM-52 Lance was a mobile field artillery tactical surface-to-surface missile (tactical ballistic missile) system used to provide both nuclear and conventional fire support to the United States Army. The missile's warhead was developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It was replaced by MGM-140 ATACMS, which was initially intended to likewise have a nuclear capability during the Cold War.
The first Lance missiles were deployed in 1972, replacing (together with the US-Navy's nuclear-tipped RIM-2D and RIM-8E/B/D) the earlier Honest John rocket and Sergeant SRBM ballistic missile, greatly reducing the weight and bulk of the system, while improving both accuracy and mobility.
A Lance battery (two fire units) consisted of two M752 launchers (one missile each) and two M688 auxiliary vehicles (two missiles each), for a total six missiles; the firing rate per unit was approximately three missiles per hour. The launch vehicles were also able to carry and launch the MGR-1 Honest John with a special kit for operational war-zone mission-dependent flexibility.
The missile's engine had an unusual arrangement, with a small sustainer engine mounted within a toroidal boost engine.
The payload consisted either of a W70 nuclear warhead with a yield of 1–100 kt (4.2–418.4 TJ) or a variety of conventional munitions. The W70-3 nuclear warhead version was one of the first warheads to be battlefield-ready with an "enhanced radiation" (neutron bomb) capability. Conventional munitions included single conventional shaped-charge warhead for penetrating hard targets and for bunker busting or a cluster configuration containing 836 M74 bomblets for anti-personnel and anti-materiel uses. The original design considered a chemical weapon warhead option, but this development was cancelled in 1970.
The Lance missile was removed from service following the end of the Cold War and was partially replaced in the conventional role by the MGM-140 ATACMS.
The Bundeswehr Museum of German Defense Technology in Koblenz has one of these rockets in its collection.
United States United States Army
United Kingdom British Army
Israel Israeli Defence Forces
Netherlands Royal Netherlands Army
Belgium Belgian Land Component
Italy Italian Army
Germany German Army