The BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) weapon system, with the multi-mission TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster missiles, is the premier long-range, heavy assault-precision anti-armor, anti-fortification and anti-amphibious landing weapon system used throughout the world today. It’s also the preferred heavy assault anti-armor weapon system for NATO, coalition, United Nations and peacekeeping operations worldwide. The weapon system is deployed with more than 40 international armed forces and integrated on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms. Raytheon Missiles & Defense has delivered more than 700,000 TOW weapon systems to U.S. and allied warfighters.
Initially developed by Hughes Aircraft between 1963 and 1968, the XBGM-71A was designed for both ground and heliborne applications. First produced in 1970, TOW is one of the most widely used anti-tank guided missiles. In 1997, Raytheon Co. purchased Hughes Electronics from General Motors Corporation, so development and production of TOW systems now comes under the Raytheon brand. TOW replaced much smaller missiles like the SS.10 and ENTAC, offering roughly twice the effective range, a more powerful warhead, and a greatly improved semi-automatic guidance system that could also be equipped with infrared cameras for night time use.
The TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster missiles can be fired from all TOW weapon system launchers – including the ITAS™ launcher, Stryker anti-tank guided missile vehicle (modified ITAS launcher) and Bradley Fighting Vehicles (Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem). With its extended range performance, the TOW missile is the long-range precision, heavy anti-tank and assault weapon system of choice for the U.S. Army Stryker, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, ITAS High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle and Light Armored Vehicle-Anti-tank platforms. Upgrade programs will extend the missile’s life cycle beyond 2050. Raytheon has delivered more than 700,000 TOW weapon systems to U.S. and allied warfighters.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense is working on an upgraded TOW missile to meet the U.S. Army’s requirement for an extended-range, anti-tank, guided missile. The weapon system transitioned to wireless guidance in 2010 and is being produced for the Army, U.S. Marines and international customers. The company is improving the missile’s propulsion system, giving it greater distance and speed. The U.S. Army will continue to operate the TOW missile until at least 2034. In May 2020, Raytheon was contracted to deliver engineering services for refinement and maintenance of the wireless-guided weapon system.