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US State Department Approves Sale of TOW 2B Radio Frequency Missiles to Oman


US State Department Approves Sale of TOW 2B Radio Frequency Missiles to Oman

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The TOW weapon system is deployed with more than 40 international armed forces and integrated on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms.
BGM-71F Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wireless-Guided 2B (TOW 2B) Missile

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Oman of TOW 2B Radio Frequency Missiles (BGM-71F-7-RF) and Support and related equipment for an estimated cost of $70 million. The Government of Oman has requested to buy three hundred one (301) Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wireless-Guided (TOW) 2B, Radio Frequency (RF) Missiles (BGM-71F-7-RF) (includes 7 “Fly-to-Buy” Missiles). Also included are U.S. Government and contractor technical, program, logistics, and engineering support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The proposed sale will improve the Royal Army of Oman’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing the strength of its homeland defense. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Tucson, Arizona.

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 and a greatly improved semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) 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. The weapon is used in anti-armor, anti-bunker, anti-fortification and anti-amphibious landing roles. TOW is in service with over 45 militaries and is integrated on over 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms worldwide.

The EagleFire™ launcher is designed to bridge the capability gap between the older TOW 2 and TOW missile’s ITAS launcher.
The EagleFire launcher is designed to bridge the capability gap between the older TOW 2 and TOW missile’s ITAS launcher. (Photo by RTX)

In 1999, TOW received the Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS). 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. By 2013, the U.S. Marine Corps had retired the air-launched TOW missile.

In October 2015, Raytheon Systems Company introduced the TOW EagleFire launcher for firing wireless radio frequency missiles. The next-generation launcher offers enhanced target acquisition and engagement. In appearance TOW-2B missile is similar to TOW-2A, but equipped with a new modified BC with double cumulative charge, the action of which is directed at an angle to the longitudinal axis of the missile, and a remote magnetic (or magnetic – IR) fuse with a laser or radio frequency rangefinder. The BC is detonated at a certain point as the missile flies over the target. The diameter of the BC compartment is the same (152.4 mm) as for the previous TOW missile model, but the cumulative charges differ significantly. TOW 2B RF is modified with a one-way, stealthy radio-frequency command link, which dispenses with the wire link and gives a range of 4.5km. The system is compatible with current launchers.

BGM-71F Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wireless-Guided 2B (TOW 2B) Missile A TOW 2B missile is fired during an exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany. (Photo by RTX) /caption]

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