Wireless TOW (ER)
A fifth generation of the TOW family, TOW-ER also known as
TOW AERO provides significant operational advantages above the
latest TOW-2B version. Among the improvements are improved aerodynamic
profile and elimination of guidance wires, enabling target engagements
beyond 4.5 km. The aerodynamic improvements maintain higher
velocity throughout the flight which enables the missile to
cover the longer distance at almost the same time (21 seconds)
as it required to fly to its previous max. range of 3.75 km.
The wire guidance system is replaced by a radio command link.
The new guidance system is immune to IR countermeasures which
could be used by enemy tanks. Both upgrades can be performed
on the TOW-2B missile and offer savings of 20-40% compared to
new acquisitions. The US Army is testing the modified missile
and has funded procurement of the wireless TOW 2B version through
fiscal years 2007 - 2009.
Because the wireless system is
built into the missile and the missile case, the wireless TOW
works with existing launch platforms - including the Improved
Target Acquisition System, Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem,
TOW 2 Subsystem and M220 Ground TOW. The system performs exactly
as the wire-guided version, enabling soldiers to continue using
the proven weapon without changing tactics or incurring additional
training. TOW remains the Army and Marine Corps' primary heavy
anti-tank and precision assault weapon deployed on more than
4,000 TOW launch platforms including the Army "Stryker,"
Bradley Fighting Vehicle System and High Mobility Multipurpose
Wheeled Vehicle. On October
10, 2006 the US Army awarded Raytheon a first procurement
program for the Wireless TOW. In
Pakistan was reported to plan to convert 121 TOW launchers
introducing wireless guidance, replacing the older BGM 71 with
the over 3,000 TOW 2A missiles.
TOW Bunker Buster
With upgrades for the veteran TOW II missiles are underway,
Raytheon is promoting a new modification, featuring the Bunker-Buster
version of the TOW, which recently "spiraled out"
of the TOW program. TOW missiles are undergoing improvements
that will maintain them in service through 2025. The TOW Bunker
Buster uses a fragmentation high-explosive bulk charge to breach
up to 8 inches (20.3cm) of double-reinforced concrete walls
and destroy fortified targets in complex urban terrain. While
traditional shaped charges can penetrate entire buildings, the
TOW bunker buster disperses its pressure at the point of penetration.
The new warhead will be installed in TOW missiles as part of
an upgrade which also involves the introduction of an RF link,
eliminating the wire guidance which limited the missile's range
and usability in certain conditions.