The US Army has awarded Raytheon a $52 million fiscal year 2002 production contract for the Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) missile.
The TOW 2, with the multi-mission TOW 2A and TOW 2B missiles, is said to be the premier anti-armour, anti-bunker and anti-fortification weapon system throughout the world today. Current versions of TOW include the direct fire TOW 2A and top attack TOW 2B missiles, which can be launched from the ground or from a helicopter.
The contract calls for 1,689 TOW 2A, TOW 2B and practice missiles for Israel, Jordan, Luxembourg, Japan and Spain via Foreign Military Sales (FMS).
Work will be performed at Raytheon’s Missile Systems business unit in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be complete about August 2004.
These missiles had previously been limited to a maximum range of 3.75 kilometres due to the length of the guidance wire. However, Raytheon and the US Army have demonstrated extended range variants of both TOW 2A and TOW 2B, as well as a wireless TOW variant. The extended range TOW 2B missile, with a more aerodynamic airframe, is capable of a 4.5-kilometer range.
The wireless TOW, a potential variant of the TOW missile system, is guided to the extended range using a virtually non-detectable RF link. The extended range and RF guided TOW variants have recently been tested at the US Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
The US Army also is developing the TOW Bunker Buster. This TOW 2A modification is designed to destroy bunker and field fortifications and breech walls, including triple thick brick and reinforced concrete.