Washington to supply 14,000 TOW missiles to the Saudi National Guard

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The international customer was not named but believed to be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

TOW Missile launched from a HMMWV. Photo: Raytheon

TOW Missile launched from a HMMWV. Photo: Raytheon

Following a conclusion of a large foreign military sales contract signed by the US Government, the Raytheon company is expecting an order for 14,000 tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) missiles worth about $750 million. The international customer was not named but believed to be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The missiles are destined to the Saudi Arabia National Guard’s (SANG), bolstering their defense and counter-terrorism mission capability. The missiles will be delivered over a period of three years, beginning in 2015. An order is expected within weeks, Raytheon said.

Saudi Arabia has recently concluded a contract with general Dynamics land Systems Canada, for the delivery of a new fleet of armored vehicles, some of which will be equipped with missile launchers. First deliveries of these vehicles are expected in 2016. Saudi Arabia currently operates over a fleet of 500 V-150 Commando, delivered by Textron Systems’ subsidiary Cadillac Cage in the 1970s. Some of these vehicles are also carrying TOW missile launchers.

As a semi-automatic guided missile, the TOW has no seeker on board, thus it is highly suitable for asymmetric warfare, engaging unarmored ‘soft targets’ from ground launchers, vehicles. With the wireless version, TOW 2B AERO is also useful over water, against boats and amphibious targets.

The Saudi order, outlined in December 2013 includes two types of missiles currently under production – 9,650 TOW 2A wire-guided variant and 4,145 TOW 2B AERO RF (wireless) missiles. Raytheon is also offering a Bunker Buster variant. TOW is in service in more than 40 international armed forces and integrated on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms worldwide. Raytheon has delivered more than 675,000 TOW missiles to U.S. and allied warfighters; the TOW weapon system is expected to be in service with the U.S. military beyond 2025 and worldwide, until 2050.

The new order will enable Raytheon to sustain and even expand the production capability of its TOW product line, the company announced.

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