The MGM-52 Lance was a mobile field artillery tactical surface-to-surface missile (SRBM) system used to provide battlefield tactical nuclear support. The first Lance missiles were deployed in 1972, replacing the earlier Honest John rocket and Sergeant SRBM ballistic missile, greatly reducing the weight and bulk of thesystem, while improving both accuracy and mobility.e both nuclear and conventional fire support. The missile's warhead was developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the United States.
The payload consisted either of a W70 nuclear warhead with a yield of 1-100 kt 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 cluster bombs for use against SAM-Sites, heat seeking Anti-Tank Cluster Munitions or a single unitary conventional shape-charged warhead for penetrating hard targets and for bunker busting. The original design considered a chemical weapon warhead option, but this development was cancelled in 1970.
The MGM-52 Lance was a battlefield short-range, road mobile, liquid propellant ballistic missile. It was a tactical system developed to replace the Sergeant tactical missile. It was designed to be a small, inexpensive missile that could be deployed in large numbers and fired repeatedly. It was carried in a tracked M752 Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle and was often accompanied by reload vehicles, which carried two additional Lance missiles. The primary contractor was Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
The Lance missile system a tactical asset designed for use against the Soviet Union. It was developed to follow US doctrine of maintaining low-yield nuclear weapons in case of nuclear escalation in Europe. Its short-range prevents it from engaging strategic targets, but its nuclear warhead </span>was<span> of a sufficient size to be able to threaten population centers and hardened targets. A neutron bomb warhead was developed for use against military units, particularly armoured troops. High explosive (HE) warheads were developed to allow for non-nuclear deployment, though only the submunition warheads would be feasible against specific military units. The unitary HE warhead could only effectively be used against large targets such as manufacturing complexes,airports, etc. Far more nuclear warheads were developed for the Lance than conventional, and the Lance would probably have been used to attack concentrated troops, command facilities and military bases with its fairly powerful nuclear warhead. The mobility of the Lance TEL vehicle enabled it to follow movements in the front and avoid attack.
The Lance missile had a range of 130 km (81 miles), with an accuracy of 150 m CEP. This accuracy was obtained by a simplified inertial guidance system which was designed to be inexpensive, which was why the accuracy was far higher than its range would suggest. It can be equipped with a single W70 100 kT yield warhead, as well as an enhanced radiation (neutron bomb) W70-3 version. Conventional HE warheads were also developed, with both unitary and submunition types. The missile was 6.41 m long, 0.56 m in diameter, and has a launch weight of 1,527 kg. It was a single-stage liquid propellant design.