On 28 October, US defence secretary Ashton Carter announced that the US Army’s Lockheed-Martin MGM-140 ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) will get upgraded to hit moving land and sea targets.

The MGM-140 was designed to deliver a payload of submunitions to a specific location using GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates at a range of up to 162 nautical miles (300 kilometres). As such it is an area weapon. However, the US Department of Defence intends to give the MGM-140 the ability to find and successfully attack any stationary or moving target whether on land or at sea.

This will mean it can engage harden bunkers and, more importantly, naval vessels underway. The MGM-140’s latest 500 pounds (230 kilograms) unitary warhead is ideal for this role. This new incarnation of the weapon will allow ground forces to play a direct role in the littoral battle. It has not been revealed when this new capability may enter service with the US Army and US Marine Corps.