TOW 2B Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
TOW 2B Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

Raytheon Wins $398 Million for TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $398,329,554 modification (P00031) to contract W31P4Q-17-C-0194 for tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles (TOW), TOW obsolescence and safety missiles and practice missiles. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2022. Fiscal 2017, 2019 and 2020 missile procurement (U.S. Army); 2019 and 2020 procurement (Defense-wide) funds; and 2018 and 2019 defense revolving funds in the amount of $398,329,553 were obligated at the time of the award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

The BGM-71 TOW (“Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided”) is an American anti-tank missile. 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. First produced in 1970, TOW is one of the most widely used anti-tank guided missiles. It can be found in a wide variety of manually carried and vehicle-mounted forms, as well as widespread use on helicopters. Originally designed by Hughes Aircraft in the 1960s, the weapon is currently produced by Raytheon.

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The TOW missile in its current variations is not a fire-and-forget weapon, and like most second-generation wire-guided missiles has Semi-Automatic Command Line of Sight guidance. This means that the guidance system is directly linked to the platform, and requires that the target be kept in the shooter’s line of sight until the missile impacts. A fire-and-forget TOW variant (TOW-FF) was under development, but was cancelled by the Army in 2002. In October 2012, Raytheon received a contract to produce 6,676 TOW (wireless-guided) missiles for the U.S. military. Missiles that will be produced include the BGM-71E TOW 2A, the BGM-71F TOW 2B, the TOW 2B Aero, and the BGM-71H TOW Bunker Buster.

A TOW 2B missile is fired during an exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
A TOW 2B missile is fired during an exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany. (Photo: U.S. Army)
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