Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: BGM-71E-4B-RF, BGM-71F-3-RF, radio frequency TOW, TOW 2A Radio Frequency, TOW 2B Radio Frequency and wireless TOW
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked and Wire-guided) missiles are designed to accurately destroy armored vehicles, fortifications and bunkers from safe ranges. Raytheon has produced more than 600,000 TOW missiles over the last 30 years for more than 40 international armed forces around the globe. The TOW missiles have been integrated in more than 15,000 ground vehicles and helicopters.
The TOW was introduced in 1970 and can be fired by the infantry (4 men) using a tripod, ground vehicles (HMMWV, M2) and helicopters (AH-1 Cobra). It is a wire guided weapon with a range in excess of 3,000 meters. The TOW's CLU (Command Launch Unit) allows operations in all weather day or night conditions, after the firing the gunner must keep the sight on the target to ensure the impact.
The TOW missile was widely used during the Vietnam (1970s) war, the Iran-Iraq (1980-88) war, the Desert Storm (1991) operation and most recently during the Iraqi Freedom (2003) operation.
Wireless TOW heavy anti-tank, precision assault missile replaces the wire guidance system introduced in the 1970s by a new wireless secure data link. Overall, wireless TOW is expected to perform as its predecessors with the data link subsystem built into the missile's case and the missile which allows operation with existing launch platforms such as ITAS, Bradley's launchers, M220 and TOW 2 subsystems. The US Army awarded Raytheon an initial contract worth $163 million for Wireless TOW development September 15, 2006. The radio frequency or wireless TOW is available with TOW 2A and TOW 2B warheads.
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